O holy child of Bethlehem!
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in;
Be born in us today.
(Phillips Brooks, "O Little Town of Bethlehem")
The Christmas story is the story of the manifestation of Christ in this world in the form of Jesus. It is an expression of the unquenchable longing of all mankind to see the Divine expressed and realized in human form. It pictures the realization of our own longing that Christ be born in each of us, that the holy gentleness and Love of Christ be given expression in our lives.
As the angel in the Bible story announced to Mary, so too there is a seed of Christ in us, planted by God Himself, that awaits only our acceptance and receptivity to take form and appear in the world. Like Mary, we may be inclined to ask, "How can this be?" The angel explained to her that "nothing is impossible with God." He said that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, and the power of the Most High would overshadow her. She did not really need to understand how it could happen; she had only to believe that it would.
Will you and I, like Mary, acquiesce to the divine plan, and reply in deep humility, "Be it done to me according to your word?" Will we say to the Christ within us, "Be born in us today?"
May we let this Christmas season be a time of remembering that Christ is being born in us. Let us take time to join in the prayer of Workbook Lesson 303:
The holy Christ is born in me today.
Watch with me, angels, watch with me today. Let all God's holy Thoughts surround me, and be still with me while Heaven's Son is born. Let earthly sounds be quiet, and the sights to which I am accustomed disappear. Let Christ be welcomed where He is at home. And let Him hear the sounds He understands, and see but sights that show His Father's Love. Let Him no longer be a stranger here, for He is born again in me today.
This is what it is all about: the birth of Christ in us. As we become still in God's Presence, Heaven's Son is being born in us. The evil self we made is passing away, and Christ is being born. What we have believed we are is not the truth; Christ is "what I really am in truth;" "my Self as You created me" (W-pII.303.2:2,4). Let us feel the wonder of it. Let us hear the rustle of angelic wings and the songs of heavenly choirs, watching with joy as we acceptingly open to what is happening in us.
Why does it seem so hard for us to connect with the truth of all of this? As we try to sense the reality of this Christ Self as our Self, notice the thoughts that arise in opposition to it. Thoughts of guilt and unworthiness. Mocking thoughts. Thoughts of feeling foolish. Thoughts of futility. These thoughts comprise the ego; they are thoughts that form the "evil self" we made for ourselves. They mean nothing. Let them go, dancing in the wind, and allow the awareness of our true grandeur as God's creation take their place. This noble, wondrous Self we sometimes sense, and perhaps sense now; this Self of endless love; this universal beneficence, gentleness and kindness—this is Who we are. This is what is being born in us today.
We are the birthplace of the Christ child. We are his chosen dwelling place. We may feel unworthy, as a food trough for animals (the manger) seems unworthy of Jesus, but we have been chosen to bring divinity to birth in humanity. We, like Jesus, are to be the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in this world. We, like Jesus, will go about doing good, working miracles, and forgiving sins. In us, there is born this day a savior, which is Christ, the Lord.
As our minds turn to the light in us and look for Christ, he is reborn in us (W-pI.rV.Int.7:3). What we are doing in each and every moment that we allow the Holy Spirit to overshadow our minds is bringing Christ into this world, giving birth to the holy Son of God in our midst. We are like Mary, saying, "Be it done to me according to your will."
Let us, then, respond to the Father today:
Your Son is welcome, Father. He has come to save me from the evil self I made. He is the Self that You have given me. He is but what I really am in truth. He is the Son You love above all things. He is my Self as You created me. It is not Christ that can be crucified. Safe in Your Arms let me receive Your Son (W-pII.303.2:1-8).