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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I Am Christ

This is the season of light. The celebration of light is an ancient one. For centuries, cultures have heralded the coming of Winter Solstice as the return of light, when the sun’s rays once again bless the earth and days grow longer.  In the Jewish tradition, Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights, celebrates the miracle of light that burned in the temple for eight days despite the appearance that there was only enough oil to burn for one day. Christmas, too, is a celebration of light. In fact, early Christians chose to observe the birth of Jesus at this time of year because of the ancient observance of Solstice. Jesus is often called “the Light of the world,” and his birth is celebrated by the traditional Christian church as the return of spiritual light to a world that was “lost in darkness.”  In Unity we observe Christmas, not only as the birthday of Jesus, the master teacher and way-shower, but also as a celebration of light as represented by the awakening of the Christ as each of us. The Christ is, as the writer of the gospel of John says, “The light that enlightens every [one].”  John 1:9

We often use the word ‘Christ’ assuming that we share a common understanding of its meaning.  However, it seems that while we may have a notion of ‘Christ’, the term is still somewhat nebulous.  In the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary (MBD), Unity co-founder, Charles Fillmore offers an expansive explanation of “Christ.”  The following is a short excerpt.
 “Christ is the only begotten Son of God or the one complete idea of perfect man in Divine Mind. [Christ] is the embodiment of all divine ideas, such as intelligence, life, love, substance, and strength. In the architect's mind there may be one masterpiece, but that masterpiece is the sum of all the beautiful ideas that have come to his mind. This Christ, or perfect-man idea existing eternally in Divine Mind, is the true, spiritual, higher self of every individual. Each of us has within him the Christ, just as Jesus had, and we must look within to recognize and realize our sonship, our divine origin and birth, even as He did. By continually unifying ourselves with the Highest by our thoughts and words, we too shall become sons of God, manifest.”
Mr. Fillmore uses the term “Divine Mind” as a synonym for “God.”  He taught that Divine Mind is replete with Divine Ideas only and that the ultimate purpose of humanity is to bring those Divine Ideas into manifestation through the power of thoughts and words which are born from the revelation and realization of the Christ.  Divine Ideas in Divine Mind are the equivalent of what we might refer to as the thoughts in God’s mind.  Understanding this, it follows that since Christ is the Divine Idea for humanity in Divine Mind, then it is the equivalent of God’s thought that expresses the perfection of humankind.  Each of us is, in truth, the Christ and we are endowed with the full potential to embody the realization and demonstration of this thought.  As beings created in the image and likeness of Divine Mind, we are one with it and have access to all Divine Ideas; therefore, we need only to open our hearts and minds through prayer, contemplation and meditation, and invite the awareness of the Christ-thought to enlighten us.

A Course in Miracles reads:
“[Christ] is the Thought which still abides within the Mind that is [Its] Source. [Christ] has not left [Its] holy home, nor lost the innocence in which [It] was created. [Christ] abides unchanged forever in the Mind of God. Your mind is part of [Christ’s] and [Christ’s] a part of yours. [Christ] is the part in which God’s answer lies.”
The Christ is not a vague concept or unknowable ideal to which we are to aspire; it is an idea to which we have complete access every moment of every day.  Christ is the place in our consciousness where the Mind of God is revealed as our mind.  When we open to the infusion of this Christ-idea, the full meaning will be revealed and we will begin to realize the impact of this “enlightenment.”  As we consciously invite the awareness of the Christ-idea, we will begin to embody and live from the Christ-idea.  As Mr. Fillmore said, we will manifest the Christ by “continually unifying ourselves” with it. 

Mr. Fillmore continues his explanation of ‘Christ’ in the MBD by offering us a tool for revealing the Christ to ourselves, “Spiritual perception reveals to us that we are not persons, but factors in the cosmic mind. Reveal yourself to yourself by affirming, "I am the Christ, son of the living God."   Another way of stating this is that each of us is a thought in Divine Mind and that we are each a unique manifestation of the one thought or idea which we refer to as ‘Christ.’ 

May we allow Christmas, this season of light, to be a time in which we celebrate the Christ that is each of us.  As we awaken to ourselves as Christ, we are enlightened, and we demonstrate the Christ en masse.  Celebrate the Christ you are.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Peace On Earth

During this, the second week of Advent, we celebrate peace.  Peace is a prominent theme of the Christmas stories in the gospels of Matthew and Luke.  “On Earth, peace, good will toward men” is one of the most well-known and often repeated phrases from these stories.  Traditional Christianity believes that Jesus Christ, who is often referred to as “The Prince of Peace,” will return to establish God’s kingdom on the Earth which will include a reign of peace.  In addition to being essential to Christian eschatology, “peace on Earth” is a common theme in many of the world’s religions.  In the Jewish tradition, global peace and harmony are a part of the vision for the Messianic Age.  Other religions and faith traditions, including Buddhism and Hinduism also include world peace in their vision for the end time.

Some traditions assert that the end of the world as we know it and the establishment of peace on Earth will come quickly, whether via the incarnation or reincarnation of a deity or by some cataclysmic event.  We, in Unity, hold the vision for peace on Earth in our lifetime.  Peace on Earth is not dependent upon a single event or coming of a Messianic figure.  It is not Jesus, but the Christ, the only begotten idea in Divine Mind for humanity, that will initiate the reign of peace on Earth.  The Christ which is born through each of us, nurtured by each of us, and lived as each of us will bring forth the kingdom of God into manifestation.  In order to establish peace on Earth, we must be willing to know ourselves as the Christ; allow the mind of Christ to be our mind, and allow ourselves “to be transformed by the renewing of our minds,” as St. Paul said in his letters to the churches at Corinth and Philippi. Our minds are transformed when we consciously surrender to the Christ, not an external being, but the idea in Divine Mind that is ever a part of our own minds. Peace on Earth will be established when we consciously choose for it to be.

We also hold the vision for a world transformed by peace, not that the physical world will cease to exist.  The world is a projection of human consciousness, the mind of humanity.  A mind that is not at peace projects a world that is not peaceful.  We have created and continue to create the world as we know it moment by moment.  Likewise, we can end the world as we know it and transform it whenever we choose.  We can alter human consciousness and establish peace on Earth one mind at a time by taking every opportunity to allow our own minds to be renewed and transformed by Christ.   The world as we know it is the world we have created and we can recreate it whenever we choose. 
In the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, Unity co-founder, Charles Fillmore, says “Jehovah of the Old Testament is the I AM, or Christ of God invisible; the Messiah is the promise of the visible manifestation of that I AM or Christ, and Jesus Christ is the fulfillment in man of that original spiritual I AM, or Jehovah.”  In other writings, Mr. Fillmore said, “God was known to the Israelites as Jehovah-shalom: "I am peace." “You can demonstrate peace of mind by holding the words "I am peace."  If you take Jehovah-shalom into your mind and hold it with the thought of a mighty peace, you will feel a consciousness, a harmonizing stillness that no man can understand…Then you will know that you have touched something; but you cannot explain to another just what it is, because you have gone beyond the realm of words and made union with the divine cause.”

By taking the mantra “Jehovah-shalom” into our minds and focusing on it, we invite the Christ to fill our minds.  As the Christ fills our minds, our minds are renewed. The consciousness of humanity is changed one mind at a time, and we begin to project the world from a mind that knows peace.  The Christ is born in and through each of us, and together we bring forth peace on Earth.  When we are transformed, we transform the world. I am peace. So are you. Peace on Earth, goodwill to all.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Truth About Santa

It’s that time of year again, time to write Santa and tell him what you want for Christmas.  

When I was a kid, every afternoon after school I watched a children’s television program called the Trooper Terry Show.  Trooper Terry always had special games and lessons for children.  He was the local version of Captain Kangaroo or Mr. Rogers, and a hero for me and my peers.   During the Christmas season, Trooper Terry had a remote feed; of course I didn’t know it was called that at the time, from the North Pole.  I guess the reception was not very good in Augusta, Georgia all the way from Santa’s castle because the picture was often a bit “snowy.” 

At the appointed time during the program, Trooper Terry would put his finger beside his nose and instruct us all to do the same.  We would all nod our heads, and then, magically, Santa Claus appeared on the television screen.   He would talk to us, and then read a few of the letters he received from the children in our town.   For me and my friends it was one of the most highly anticipated television events of the season.  Of course, every year I wrote my letter and addressed it to Santa in care of Channel 6, the local television station.  And, he always received my letter.  I don’t recall that he ever read mine on the show, but I always knew that he got it.   How else would he have known what to bring me?

Every Christmas Eve, I would lovingly prepare a plate of fruitcake, not cookies (my mother made fruitcake every year) and pour a glass of milk to leave for Santa.  And, every Christmas morning I would awaken before sunrise to discover that he had eaten the fruitcake.  He had also drank the milk and left me all sorts of wonderful toys.  I never really understood how he managed to get to all the houses in the world on one night, or how he could possibly eat all the goodies that so many children left out for him, and it never mattered how: it only mattered that I believed.  It was a magical time of year.


As I grew older and heard stories about the real identity of Santa Claus, I felt disappointed and sad.  I wondered how my parents and so many other adults could lie to their children and convince them to believe in someone who is not real.  It seemed like a cruel hoax.  I accepted the fact that I had been duped and stopped writing my letters.  I no longer believed.  I lost the magic of Christmas.

Years later, as I began to truly question why the myth of Santa Claus has endured, I discovered a deeper truth about him.  He is the archetype of the spirit of Christmas.  The depiction of Santa Claus as the jolly old elf in a bright red, fur-trimmed suit sprang from the imagination of writers and artists, but this image represents some of the best qualities inherent in each of us - generosity, prosperity, giving and joy.  Santa is the personification of these qualities of our Divine Nature.  He has endured in our hearts and minds because he reminds us of who we truly are.  Santa Claus gives us the opportunity, even if only for a few weeks, days or hours each year, to behold aspects of our true selves.

Today, I believe.  I believe that Santa Claus is each and every one of us.  I believe that we can choose to allow his images to remind us of the magic we all possess.  I believe that we can embrace the spirit of Christmas and share joy, give love, and extend kindness to people everywhere, not just during this season, but 365 days a year. 

It has been years since I wrote a letter to Santa, but I am going to do it this year.  My letter will be a bit different from the ones I wrote as a child.  I will not ask for toys, or a bike, not even a new puppy.  In my letter this year, I will ask Santa to bring food, clothing, and shelter to all people everywhere.  I will ask him to bring love to every home.  I will ask him to bring peace to the hearts of all humankind, thereby bringing peace to the world. 

Now that I know who Santa Claus really is; now that I know that he lives in the hearts and minds of each of us, I trust that he will receive my letter, and I believe that he will deliver everything I ask for. 

I pray that you will join me.  Let’s embrace the true spirit of Christmas and do our part to bring the magic of the season to the lives of children everywhere.

Wishing you a magical Christmas season,