This Sunday, December 24, 2017, we continued our mini-Via theme of AHSCKNYE, which stands for Advent, Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Years and Epiphany. We celebrate all of these traditions at Jubilee! Circle, recognizing the depth and the breadth of the spiritual expressions of humanity. Below is an excerpt from the Dec. 24, 2017 sermon celebrating the miracle of trust, along with a link to the sermon audio.
From the Hebrew Scriptures: Isaiah 9:2-7: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light
From the Jesus Story: Luke 2: 8-20: And Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.
From A Course in Miracles, Chapter 15: This Christmas give the Holy Spirit everything that would hurt you.
Song used in the sermon: Come Darkness, Come Light by Mary Chapin Carpenter
If you want to learn all about the miracle of trust, children would be a great place to start. Other than, perhaps, dogs, there are no more trusting creatures on this earth. You can disappoint children over and over again, and still, they have this unshakable trust that perhaps the next time will be different and they will see, or receive, what they have hoped for.
Perhaps this is why it’s important for Jesus to come into the world as a little child. Now, we can debate about whether Mary was really a virgin before the birth, and some theologians would argue that she remained one even after the birth, but what’s important here is this: Jesus’ birth is the moment we realize the incarnation. Now, I didn’t say that it was the first time incarnation ever happened.
I’m saying that it was Jesus’ appearance, in that squalling, drooling and pooping baby body, that we finally were able to see the divinity that resided not just within that tiny body, but within every body – within every living creature that begins life as a tiny, wriggling, and often slimy, body.
Those shepherds watching their flocks that night who were treated to a choir of heavenly angels announcing Jesus’ birth knew there was something special about this brand-new baby boy. Not just because the birth announcement was extravagant, but because the angels told them that the Messiah was born. Now, to the Jews, this is an epic event. They’ve waited their entire lives for the Messiah – the warrior who would lead them out of bondage and into freedom.
They, like many others, however, expected this Messiah to already be a great warrior, not a slobbering kid sleeping in stable, unable to hold up his own head, let alone ride a mighty steed and swing a fiery sword. Christmas is God’s great reversal of our expectations. We get a Messiah, but not the one we expect.
Instead, this little burping and pooping Messiah was born to show us that nobody’s riding to our rescue us out here in this world of illusion. Instead, this birth revealed the incarnation that exists – and has always existed – within each of us. The Messiah is born on this night, and every night. The Messiah was born the night we were each birthed, because we are the Messiah. We are the ones sent to save the world. We are the ones sent to bring the good news of great joy for all the people.
The good news does not come from places of power. What’s the last piece of good news you’ve heard from Washington, DC or the South Carolina State House? The collective ego consciousness we have created in this world is not where the true power lies – even though those wrapped up in those power structures believe that it does. Instead, true power lies within a lowly manger, within the humble beginnings of a baby, surrounded by his mother’s blood, the stench of the animals, and the rough elements.
Incarnation is not tidy, it is not clean or cut and dried. Incarnation is messy. It is bloody, it is smelly, it is dirty. But this blood that we are all birthed in is sacred because it is the source of our own divinity … it symbolizes our new life as incarnations of God.
Christmas is the time for each of us to take the journey of the wise men and follow that star of our higher consciousness back to the humble stable of our birth – to rediscover the trusting child within each of us – that divinity that knows the universe is rigged in our favor.
In the darkness of our times, it can be hard to remember that the universe is a friendly place, ready to help us become the Messiah’s – the ministers of God – that we are all destined to become in our own way during this lifetime. The true meaning of Christmas, I would assert, is this, to rediscover your childlike trust and wonder in this world.
This bodily world may be an illusion – but, it is an important one because while we exist here we are learning lessons about where we must place our trust. Will we trust those who have built egoic structures of power that oppress the poor and outcast and take advantage of others? Or, will we put our trust in the divinity of every person we meet, every person we hear about, every person we call friend, family or foe? Will we take the journey, not just to our own inner mangers, but to visit their mangers as well, to see them as tiny, innocent, divinity filled infants – all of us called to embody a higher consciousness?