The lights are up in the high street, there’s a Santa’s Grotto in town and those familiar pop songs are ringing out. Whatever your Christmas experience looks like, whether it be filled with joy, love and laughter, or frustration as the old family dramas play out, or sadness at being alone on Christmas day or an attitude of complete indifference to it all, what exactly is it that we’re supposed to be celebrating here?
Is it the nativity story about a literal Jesus being born in a literal manger with literal Kings and wise men standing by? Or could it symbolise the birth of our own cosmic drama, the planting of this message of freedom in the fertile soil of our own heart, a seed that once sewn cannot be denied? Whatever material wealth or worldly success we may have, we live in poverty when we seemingly split ourselves off from our true wealth, from Wholeness, from the ‘King of Kings’.
As this message of freedom takes root we see clearly the definitions and beliefs with which we frame life, with which we define ourself, that we have mistakenly come to believe to be reality. Can we fully feel the intensity of the dissatisfaction, the heartache, the utter frustration, the sadness and the pain which that separation creates, without turning away into the familiar torrent of thinking with it’s positions, judgements and beliefs? Then it is our imagined self up there on the cross that is annihilated in the intensity of those feelings, to reveal the Wholeness that was always longed for, that was in fact already always here. We never were an ‘inside’ me separate from an ‘outside’ world but only ever life itself, already whole, already complete, one without a second. Then faith and belief are no longer required and it can be truly said that “I and the Father are one”. THAT certainly is something worth celebrating.
Image: “The Adoration of the Shepherds” by Anton Rafael Mengs. www.museodelprado.es