A TWELVE POWER CHRISTMAS CAROL
WHAT WE WANT TO LEARN & PRACTICE:
This month we are talking about the Faculty or Power of Life. What we want to learn and practice this week is that the birth of the Christ Spirit comes as we pay attention and respond to transformative events taking place in us and around us.
CHRISTMAS IS TRANSFORMATION
Christmas is about transformation. The angel Gabriel came to Mary, a thirteen-year-old girl, and told her she would give birth to the Messiah, the Christ. Do you think that maybe this was transformational?
She then spent about 5 or 6 months with her cousin Elizabeth who was pregnant, late in life, with John the Baptist. They both were to have miracle births. Do you think that maybe they talked about being transformed?
Mary, then fourteen years old, traveled with her husband Joseph to Bethlehem to give birth to her first child. Alone. Away from her family. Her first birth. Transformatonal? I think so.
Mary and Joseph then fled to Egypt because their son's life was in danger. So, from the time that the angel Gabriel came to Mary, her life has been in upheaval.
As you give birth to the Christ within you - don't be surprised if your life gets a little strange. It was a force greater than yourself that directed you to actively pursue your spiritual development. People may look at you a little skeptically. After all, what would you think if your neighbor Mary had come to you and told you that she was going to give birth to the Christ child, and that she had been impregnated by the Holy Spirit? A little skeptical?
And when you first start this process, it is good to spend time with others who understand miracles. Have you actually given thought to why God is stalking you? What are you doing that is so essential to the spiritual evolution of the human soul that you should be taken off the ordinary path of life -- the one you thought you were on -- and redirected? Mary sought out Elizabeth who was somewhat in the same situation and was the one person who would believe her and encourage her.
But like Mary you will find that giving birth to the Christ within you is a very personal experience. You and God are the only ones present and it can feel very lonely at times. And you may have to give up your life as you know it now. You may have to flee from your old nonsense that would kill the Christ child within you, that ego self that fears giving up control.
Your spirit has to script a new discipline that requires you to pay attention to your thoughts, actions, words, and private agendas. You must learn about the untapped potential you carry within you in order that this potential can be released. You cannot be given a power, even if it is your own internal power, unless you can handle it consciously. As you move into your higher self, your Christ self - you will be transformed.
The most-told and best-loved Christmas story of all time, except for the Biblical birth stories themselves, is Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. It has been presented in many different versions on film, television, and stage, and in books. While we have it as a part of our charming Christmas traditions, we may not have looked at it metaphysically.
Ebenezer Scrooge is a negative, materialistic, stingy, uncaring, grouchy, bitter, lonely, cold and grasping businessman. His business is the center of his life. People are only important if they help him make more money.
So once upon a time, he goes to bed on Christmas Eve and is visited first by a vision of Jacob Marley, his old, departed partner, who warns him of the fate his greed is creating.
Then Scrooge has three transformational dreams. He dreams of Christmas past, present and future. He sees his life as it was, as it is now and how it could turn out to be if he stays the way he is.
His soul is deeply touched by this overview of himself and the people in his life. He wakes up on Christmas morning a new man. He goes to the window - thankful to be alive and looks for the good in people. He wants to give gifts, share himself, make up for past shortcomings, be a healing influence, and celebrate life.
In truth, the transformation can and has happened that fast. But for a lot of us, we drag the process out for years and years - fearing to give up our familiar misery. We refuse to look at the clues in our lives that are telling us to change. We refuse to listen to that small, still voice whispering in our ear. And so we go from one guru to another, hoping that one of them will fix us. Searching out there, somewhere for our answers.
OUR SPIRIT IS OUR TEACHER
But, our spirit is our teacher. The Spirit of God in us is our deepest teacher. Jesus calls this the 'Spirit of truth.' (John 16:12-13) "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth;"a
The Spirit works powerfully through our dreams as well as our "awake" prayers and soul experiencing. Scrooge was so resistant to looking at himself that his dreams became "nightmares" to try to get through to him. They repeated themselves in various forms to get their message across. They were frightening to his old self and habitual way of living. They were physical - shaking him up. Even in the midst of the powerful pictures of himself that he didn't want to see, Scrooge tried to dismiss them as "an undigested bit of beef."
And we do this in our lives. Uncomfortable situations come up and we want to blame the problem on others, instead of looking at what needs to heal in ourselves. And sometimes we are just not ready to be able to deal with it.
Shedding old habits and old miseries takes some time - just as it takes time for a snake to shed its skin and to come out all fresh and new. If you tried to just rip the old skin off, you would leave the snake raw, bleeding, and vulnerable. So, give yourself time to grow and pay attention to your dreams, they are a gentle way of exposing you to the truth.
DREAMS ARE ALL LETTERS FROM GOD - PLEASE OPEN YOUR MAIL!
Dreams are all letters from God - so please, open your mail! Would you avoid opening your Christmas cards? Do you look at and appreciate the artwork, the pictures, the messages? Let us be open and be friends with our dreams.
When you are doing spiritual work you need to be attentive to the changes that are occurring within you. Unattended change can wander in all kinds of directions. Unprocessed or unexamined thoughts can implode into a depression.
Charles Fillmore writes in Christian Healing: "Instead of treating the visions of the night as idle dreams, we should inquire into them, seeking to know the cause and the meaning of every mental picture. Every dream has origin in thought, and every thought makes a mind picture. The study of dreams and visions is an important one, because it is through these mental pictures that the Lord communicates with man... Joseph, the husband of Mary, was told in a dream to take the young child Jesus and go down into Egypt... All the great and wise in every age have been instructed by God in dreams and visions."b
Now you can get a dream interpretation book if you wish. Or, you can just go with your own interpretation of your dreams - after all, it came out of your mind. One of the methods of interpreting dreams is to put yourself into each character and object in your dream and ask "what is my purpose here, what am I trying to communicate? How does it feel to be this person or thing?" Let your dreams guide you into truth.
BECOMING A NEW PERSON
We can become a new person. Scrooge became a different person on Christmas morning. He gloried in the bright day. He anonymously sent a huge turkey to his employee, Bob Cratchet and his struggling family, including little, lame Tiny Tim. Scrooge went to church and cheerfully walked the streets, wishing people, "Merry Christmas!" He gave to the poor and destitute, patted children on their heads and went to his nephew's house and had a wonderful, happy Christmas celebration. The next day, he raised Bob Cratchet's salary and afterwards became a second father to Tiny Tim. Scrooge became a joyous, generous, truly successful, friendly, delightful, thoughtful, and happy man.
Charles Dickens writes, "It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!"c
"He knew how to keep Christmas well." The Christ in us is always seeking to be more fully expressed through our Twelve Powers - Twelve Gifts from God. We accept these gifts and use them correctly to totally transform our lives and our world. Scrooge used his Twelve Powers:
Faith to perceive the good in himself and others.
Love to bless the Cratchet family and the many who had less than him.
Strength to admit he had been mean and to change.
Wisdom to choose life rather than cynicism.
Power to speak and act with love.
Imagination to learn from his dreams.
Understanding to see how he had cut off parts of himself, which were valuable and needed.
Will to do God's will of expressing good will.
Order to re-prioritize his life from materialism to caring about people.
Enthusiasm to celebrate life.
Release to face his shortcomings and let them go.
Life to be youthful, alive and energized!
Truly, the Christ was born in Scrooge!
Let that Christ child be born in you. Quit playing at being little and allow yourself to step out in all your magnificence.
bCharles Fillmore Christian Healing
cCharles Dickens A Christmas Carol