Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Eve

For unto us this day is born in the City of David a child....

Life in the Roman Empire circa 30 BCE was probably a grind for most of the population.  Getting enough to eat and keeping a roof over one's head probably occupied a major portion of daily life.  While there have been thousands of innovations and the number of material possessions have increased exponentially, for many the same two basic worries - paying bills especially for food and shelter -- remain a basic background daily concern.  It is difficult to put one's focus on the spiritual dimension when you are unsure from where your next check is coming and how much it will be.

So, given the spiritual vs tangible living split, what does Christmas Eve really add to your life?  For too many it adds a weight to the cost of living by having to buy gifts so as not to appear too pathetic. For many others it harbors the discomfort of long-standing family conflicts.  Many hate the holidays where people who haven't gotten along in forever get packed around a dinner table in a too-small space with the portends of a ticking time bomb going off. All through the season Christmas carols jingle in the background while our pockets are being emptied subliming the Ho Ho Ho of good cheer and Hark! the herald angels sing.  That may be the closest you get to spirituality even if you're religious.  Yet, wherever our heads and worry is directed, Christ Consciousness still exists.  That Consciousness is grounded in the imaginings and work of sages and wise prophets through eons; imaginings of peace, love, and eternal bliss.  How do we capture those imaginings for ourselves?  Or, do we just allow ourselves to succumb to the catatonic holiday robotic movements that get us through this paradoxical time warp called "The Holidays?"  

Much of the "spiritual not religious" popularity sprinkled through society is a recognition, at least, that the spiritual does have a place in our lives.  Spirit is really about finding meaning.  Spirit always has been about locating the higher, deeper, broader, life-enhancing meaning of life.  Christmas represents the incarnational in-breaking of the ancient rites of life-giving reconciliation and progress in expunging conflict, hostility, and difficulty from life.  To tune in and find it requires a desire to claim a space in which for it to arrive.  Christmas is the recognized space we strive to claim.  It travels on the waves of silence and beauty.  We join it figuratively by kneeling at the simple rustic side of a manger crude in concert with lowly beast and simple furnishing, a star overhead -- or even the overhead moon-silhouetted jingle of a passing sleigh and 8 tiny reindeer.  Those moments are the touch-points between the divine and the human.  They instill a memory, a longing to return to peace and goodwill that can last a year if we just set aside the silent time daily to revisit the memory and bask in it's gentle presence. The more we re-visit those memories, be it for 2 minutes or 60 minutes daily, the more we will find them influencing and pushing aside the worries and anxiety that so commonly occupy uncomfortably large parts of our lives.  That is the deeper underlying purpose of these kind of spirit-based annual observances -- to re-orient and put the whole on the same page again. 

Merry Christmas!  Peace and Goodwill to All!

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