Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, of the coming of Christ. Usually, we associate that with the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, whom A Course in Miracles calls "a man [who] saw the face of Christ in all his brothers and remembered God" (C-5.2:1). It says that Jesus "became identified with Christ, a man no longer, but at one with God" (C-5.2:2). In that sense, when Jesus came into the world, Christ came with him, because he was identified with Christ. In another sense, however, Christ, God's Son and creation, existed long before Jesus was born, and Jesus, simply a man, was merely the first to fully remember God and identify with Christ.
For this reason, when the Course chooses to speak about "the first coming of Christ," it gives it a meaning very different from "the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem." The Course declares:
The First Coming of Christ is merely another name for the creation, for Christ is the Son of God. (T-4.IV.10:1)
That is, Christ was not born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. Christ came into being in the creation, before time entirely. What took place two thousand years ago was the birth of Jesus. That birth is, to be sure, an event worth celebrating. Jesus is our leader, our teacher, our model and our example. He is in charge of the process of the Atonement. His birth was a happy day for the world, a day of "good news of great joy that will be for all the people" (Luke 2:10), as the angel declared that night.
The First Coming of Christ, however, is worthy of even greater celebration. This Christmas, as I pause to meditate on the meaning this season has for me, I find that my thoughts are turning less to the birth of the baby Jesus than to the wonder of the original creation of the Son of God. That was something to wonder over!
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. (W-pII.303.1:1-2)
"Heaven's Son is born." What an event that was! The creation of the Son of God, the moment outside of time when God the Father, unable to contain Himself, exuberantly extended Himself in and as His only Son!
To create is to love. Love extends outward simply because it cannot be contained. (T-7.I.3:3-4)
As the way in which Love extended to Itself, the creation of the Son of God was an event of perfect giving:
True giving is creation. It extends the limitless to the unlimited, eternity to timelessness, and love unto itself. It adds to all that is complete already, not in simple terms of adding more, for that implies that it was less before. It adds by letting what cannot contain itself fulfill its aim of giving everything it has away, securing it forever for itself. (W-pI.105.4:2-5)
In creating His Son, God fulfilled His aim of giving away everything He has! He gave it all; He gave Himself to us. Love overflowed and became us. "God created you by extending Himself as you" (T-7.I.5:2).
To me, this is truly an event worth remembering and celebrating. The Course tells us that an awareness of our creation and our Creator is the foundation of the new thought system it is bringing to us (T-3.VII.5:5). Think what it means that God created us:
God created every mind by communicating His Mind to it, thus establishing it forever as a channel for the reception of His Mind and Will. (T-4.VII.3:7)
You cannot be anywhere God did not put you, and God created you as part of Him. That is both where you are and what you are. It is completely unalterable. It is total inclusion. You cannot change it now or ever. It is forever true. It is not a belief, but a Fact. Anything that God created is as true as He is. (T-6.II.6:2-9)
When God created you He made you part of Him. (T-6.IV.2:1)
God has but one Son, knowing them all as One. Only God Himself is more than they but they are not less than He is.…Everyone God created is part of you and shares His glory with you. His glory belongs to Him, but it is equally yours. You cannot, then, be less glorious than He is. (T-9.VI.3:5-6,9-11)
If God created you perfect, you are perfect. (T-10.IV.1:4)
To know that we are God's creation is all that it takes to be whole, happy, complete, perfect and free. Simply the recognition that, "I am as God created me," can totally transform our existence. The Workbook devotes three entire lessons (94, 110 and 162) to this topic, the only lesson theme that is repeated. More than that, it also makes that same thought, in slightly different words, a part of our daily review for twenty straight days (Lessons 201 to 220). Why such an emphasis on knowing that God created us? Why is it so important to realize that we have not changed since He created us? Because that single thought is "the one idea which brings complete salvation; the one statement which makes all forms of temptation powerless; the one thought which renders the ego silent and entirely undone" (W-pI.94.1:1). God created us; therefore, nothing the ego seems to have done has changed anything about us. "This one thought would be enough to save you and the world, if you believed that it is true" (W-pI.110.1:2).
The fact of our creation by God has enormous meaning for us, if we are open to hear it. The Course tells us:
Everything that is of God can be counted on, because everything of God is wholly real.…You cannot separate your Self from your Creator, Who created you by sharing His Being with you. (T-7.V.6:8,15)
Because God created us, we are real. We can be counted on. We cannot separate our Self from Him because God's sharing His own Being with us was how we were created! What we are is an extension of God's Being; therefore, separating us from God's Being is simply impossible. We are God's Being.
In the early sections of the Text, the Course makes it very clear that the basis of the ego's thought system is the denial of God's Authorship, the insistence that God did not create us, but we created ourselves. It calls this denial of God's Authorship "the authority problem," and declares emphatically that it "is the root of all evil" (T-3.VI.7:3). It points out that the ego's wish to be self-creating is at the core of its thought system. "The ego is the mind's belief that it is completely on its own" (T-4.II.8:4). In other words, the foundation of the ego's thought system is the thought of autonomous self-creation; the foundation of God's thought system is: "I am as God created me." We might say that what we think and believe about our creation is the single most powerful factor in determining the direction of our lives and the realization of our true function.
What Does This Have to Do with Christmas?
You may be wondering as you read this what, if anything, it has to do with your Christmas. "Okay," you may be thinking, "so the real 'birth' of Christ was in creation, not in a manger. And knowing that God created me is a very important thing in the Course's thought system. Does that have some meaning for me as the Christmas holiday approaches?"
It can. What I have decided to attempt, this year, is to let every reference to Christmas remind me of the creation of the Son of God. Every time I hear a Christmas carol, I want it to remind me that I am the extension of my Father's Love. Every time I hear, "Hark! The herald angels sing, 'Glory to the newborn king,'" I want to remember to honor my Self. Every time I see a manger scene depicting the kings and shepherds acknowledging Jesus, I want to remember to acknowledge the Christ in myself, and to acknowledge the Christ in the people who are around me at that moment. This could be a Christmas lesson:
You are as God created you. Today honor your Self. Let graven images you made to be the Son of God instead of what he is be worshipped not today. Deep in your mind the holy Christ in you is waiting your acknowledgment as you. (W-pI.110.9:1-4)
I want every thought about Christmas gifts to remind me of the perfect gift of Himself that God gave in creating His Son. As I buy a gift for someone, I want to think, "Remember: You already have everything." I want to remind myself of that; I want to remind the person whose gift I am buying of that. I want to remind myself that I can give from abundance because I have everything, and giving it away is how I secure it for myself.
Christmas is everywhere. It is in the streets, in the stores and malls, on the television, in people's homes, in the schools. You can't escape from it. So why not make use of it? Why not let it remind us of Christ's birth, and thus of our creation as the holy Son of God? Why not let every Christmas card, every poster, every dumb commercial on TV, every person we have on our gift list, every holiday meal we have to plan or cook or eat, every office Christmas party, bring back to our minds those sacred words: "I am as God created me."
That is how the Workbook wants us to use those words. It wants us to imprint them in our minds and hearts. It wants us to saturate ourselves with them. Look at what it says:
Holy indeed is he who makes these words his own; arising with them in his mind, recalling them throughout the day, at night bringing them with him as he goes to sleep. His dreams are happy and his rest secure, his safety certain and his body healed, because he sleeps and wakens with the truth before him always. He will save the world, because he gives the world what he receives each time he practices the words of truth. (W-pI.162.3:1-3)
Let us, then, allow the all-pervasiveness of Christmas to be our reminder to do just that: To make these words our own, and keep them in our mind as we arise, all the day long, and as we go to sleep at night. Let us make this holiday season a time in which we truly remember the birth of the Son of God, and recognize it as our own.