A Christmas awakening

by Reverend Neusom Holmes I

t is that time of year again, and as the days get shorter the to-do list seems to get longer. Presents to buy, parties to give and attend, cards to write, houses to decorate, pageants to

watch, candlelight services, family gatherings, feasts and toasts. We are busy, but we want to feel the Spirit and remember the

“true meaning of Christmas.” Maybe we shouldn’t feel bad that we are caught up in the secular. Aſter all, December 25 was a pagan Roman holiday before it was Christmas. Romans gave giſts and threw parties to celebrate Saturnalia and the sun god. It seems the dark of winter has long been a good time for giſts and parties. No one really knows the exact date of Jesus’s birth. Te Bible

doesn’t tell us. Te convention of choosing to celebrate his birth on December 25 began 200 years aſter his death. Te 25th was the day that the Romans celebrated the winter solstice. While doubt- ful it is the exact birthdate of Jesus, the shortest day of the year resonated theologically with Jesus being the “light of the world.” Being born on the shortest day of the year signaled that every day aſter would bring more light. In a time before electricity, when one candle took the equivalent of one work day to make, what a relief to turn the corner and begin to have longer days. So Romans partied, gave giſts and made merry; the church chose the day to celebrate the Light of the World, and Christendom partied on. We are still partying like it is 274 AD. And we still are long-

ing for more light. Not so much in the form of LEDs, but in the deeper sense, a light unto our souls. We may make merry, but we long for joy. We long for giſts that satisfy, and truth that brings hope. It seems the church chose well the date. During these short days, we want to hear tidings of great joy unto all people. We can take comfort that Jesus was born long ago to show us a new way of being. Tere has always been magic in the story of his birth. Somehow it plucks at our heartstrings. Perhaps it’s because in some way, Jesus’s story is our story. Te story in the Gospel of Luke begins with the Virgin Mary

being told she will have a child by the Holy Spirit. Te Christ will be born not by the physical process, but a spiritual one. Te same is true for each of us. Te redemptive experience that draws us into the light is our spirit inviting us to a higher consciousness. While our journey may take us into the unconventional or even the frightening, our willingness to be transformed, to say in essence, “be it unto me according to thy word,” is the wise choice. Te journey, as symbolized by that ancient trek to Bethlehem,

prepares us to awaken to our spiritual essence, our individualized incarnation of the Christ nature. Most of us can remember a time when we felt “taxed” and life asked of us to return to our origin. (“All went to be taxed, everyone into his own city.”) We examine our family, our previous decisions, our mental and emotional heritage. And when we get there, we can oſten feel like there is

“no room in the inn.” Our rebirth into a higher consciousness will begin in humility, in a stable. We really are prepared to awaken by our suffering. We are in a ‘’teachable moment.” Tis is when we should do as Mary did. Agree with the Spirit that is pulling us along and say, “be unto me according to thy word.” And as we awaken and birth our consciousness into a higher

place, we become light to others, to angels and shepherds. We are not alone. Instead, we are home to all. At this time of year, when merriment and activity attempt to push the darkness away, many of us find we are on our own journey to Bethlehem. It can be a taxing time. We may feel discouraged or depressed. Let us do as Mary did and invite the spirit to transform us. We will get through this dark night. As the story says, “Fear not, because today I bring you tidings of great joy, for unto you is born in the city of David a savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Remember — his story is our story. Reverend Neusom Holmes can be reached at Unity of the Triangle,

5570 Munford Road in Raleigh. For information, call 919-832-8324 or visit See ad on back page.

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