This morning I was led to share with you my little Christmas book that I gave out as gifts. I hope you read it and find some meaningful and inspiring ideas.
The Christmas In You
The Christ within is calling you right now.
Will you answer that call?
Rev. Dr. M. Marlene Oaks
Christmas is a time of year that speaks to our hearts. It is a time of feelings, of love, of family reunions and going to Grandma’s house, a time of deep mystical meanings.
Just as going home for Christmas means different things to each of us, the mystical feelings and meanings of Christmas have variety for us also.
We, in the Western world, consider ourselves primarily Christian, a religion which, of course, was birthed in a Middle Eastern area. We have adopted in the West a thing of the East and, for the most part, forgotten its roots, its idioms and metaphors, its cultural and historic ground of being that are all woven throughout its stories, parables and tenets.
There are many interpretations of what it means to be spiritual in a Christian sense, and so there are many ways to look at Christmas. Let’s look together at Christmas in, perhaps, a new way. Let’s join together to tune in to some deep insights that will open up the opportunity for a new Christmas experience this year.
It is not necessary for us to look at Christmas in an historical flow for the purpose of this writing. You may find that this is something you will want to explore on your own. What I would like to do here is to look at now, and also look at how our present experience of Christmas interacts with our now. Truly, now is the only moment we can experience and breathe and live. So, let us look freshly at the Christmas experience together, here and now.
To me, and to many mystics throughout the world and time, the Christ is a consciousness of Oneness. As we awaken to that consciousness, we too become “the anointed one” or the Christ. Saint Paul spoke of the Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Some people feel very close to Jesus, and, at the same time, are confused by recent archeological, historic and other developments. They want and need to understand where this leaves him in our lives in this modern time. I can only tell you my own understanding. Jesus was a man who was born with a deep spiritual feeling and yearning. He pursued this inner urging until he had the deep and complete experience of Oneness — I and my Father are one! ... It is not I, but the Father within doing this work! ... Why do you call me good? Only the Father is good! ... Call no man master! ... Papa...
Jesus, to me, was a very precious and wondrous expression of God-Life. He was one of the few lights across the ages that totally knew who he was and who everyone else was, as well. I feel in him, the deep desire for us to know this same thing. I also feel in him, the knowing that this is possible. He was a great teacher and a great example, our elder brother who was a wayshower for us to show us the way to a living relationship with God during our earthly life.
The consciousness of the Christ was expressed in varying degrees by others too — in Buddha, in Lao Tse, in Confucius, in Meister Eckhart, in Jacob Boehme, in Hildegard of Bingen, in Mechtild of Magdeburg, in Plato, in Socrates, in Emerson, in Blake, and in many others. And thousands, maybe even millions, have touched the “edge” of such consciousness with White Light experiences and glowing lives.
I feel challenge hurled across the ages directly to you and to me — greater things than this shall you do! That is a question that I have asked myself many times. “What have I done lately that could be considered greater than the works of the Father through Jesus?” I wonder what could be the prompting for Jesus saying such a thing if it were not possible?
Something within me nods yes, yes, it is possible! What is the way? The Master Teacher said, “I am the way,” and when I ponder this statement, from deep within me I receive an answer. The consciousness that Jesus embodied is the way home to spiritual awakening. The consciousness I seek is already there within me awaiting me to knock upon its door and let it open and express in and through me.
How thrilling! I do not need to acquire anything from the outside! Within me as original equipment is the consciousness of Oneness, the knowing that I am one with God and that in conjunction with God, all things are possible. Even if I have temporarily forgotten, "it" is still there. I have, within me, the key to answer the challenge hurled down through the ages — greater things than this shall you do. This challenge takes on a new meaning to me. Yes, something within me says you can live an enlightened life.
Then arise the questions in my heart and mind - What in me holds me back from turning fully to this consciousness? What am I waiting for? Am I afraid to embrace God so fully that I would actually do greater things than Jesus? Who would I be if I were doing greater things than Jesus? What changes would have to be made in my life? If I don't turn fully to God, can I live with my deep inner regret?
What can the beloved Christmas story tell me to shed light on my here and now journey and assist me in my present day dilemmas? Let's look at it all from several levels, coming as open and teachable beings, as if afresh to this ancient story.
What does this have to do with Christmas? There are many levels of meaning of esoteric literature like the Bible. There is the literal level. Yes, a child was born sometime around 2,000 years ago, even though he was most likely not born on December 25 as shepherds were not out in December because of the cold, and many think May was a more likely time. Plus the birth was probably between 6 and 4 b.c.e. as Herod died in 4 b.c.e. (By the way, this means that the millennium so feared happened between 1994 and 1996, a gift from a wayward calendar maker of eons ago. So, it's over, and we're still here.)
We know that Jesus sprang forth from his mother just as we all do. His birth happened as it has so many billions of times. Yet, his birth was exceptional because of what he did with his life. Just as there are few Leonardo da Vinci's or Mozart's, there are few spiritual giants that are born here on our earth, perhaps none to match the stature of Jesus of Nazareth. There were some extraordinary events around his birth with various people picking up intuitively that a unique child had entered the earth (such as astrologer kings and shepherds and rabbis and others.)
So, there was a literal, historic event that was the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, or Joshua ben Joseph, as he was most likely called.
He had a literal ministry and impact on the world that has been interpreted in countless ways. From shortly after his crucifixion to this day, people have argued and fought over their "right" interpretations, even killing others who did not agree. He was the messiah (to sit on the throne of David and establish a new political kingdom, even though he said that his kingdom was not of this world). He was the new Moses, leading his people out of the wilderness in a new way. He was the sacrificial lamb, taking on the errors of the people and erasing them once and for all rather than having to sacrifice lambs regularly for this purpose. He was the only son of God. He was the son of God, telling us that we too were the children of God, making him our elder brother. We could go on for many pages just listing the various things people have said. Perhaps he says to you today, Who do you say I am?
Whatever way we interpret the ministry that began with the inspiration of Jesus and whatever way we interpret Jesus himself, Joshua ben Joseph was born into a cultural milieu that could not help but influence his ministry. He was a Jew. The prime objective of the Jews of the first century was to be holy, which meant to be clean. To be clean meant to follow precise regulations. Many of Jesus' stories can be seen as a refutation of the cleanliness laws that defined holiness in his day. The Good Samaritan, for example, showed touching and helping the hated Samaritan, which would make a person unclean and even more unclean if he were indeed dead. But, Jesus made this touching and helping a virtue. From the picking food on the Sabbath to the spit in the mud, we can see a rebellion against the cleanliness laws as a way to spirituality. He introduces onto the stage of earth a new possibility of personal communion with God, forgiveness, love, honoring others including women and lepers and people thought to be unclean, healing, hope, optimism, eternal life and so much more.
Another literal factor to be considered is that the Romans occupied his homeland and defined the parameters of life. No one was allowed to upset the politics of the Romans. Things were carefully controlled. The leaders of the Jews and the Romans had worked out a way to coexist. No uprisings could be allowed. There were many voices that were left to speak, complain and prophecy as long as the authority of the day was not threatened. A veneer of peace had been laid on top of the indignation of subjugation.
Truly, it was a fascinating time in history, a time that changed the entire future.
There is the mental level in our understanding of Christmas and of Joshua ben Joseph — there is a child within each of us. It is in the cradle of our hearts. It is parented by all that we are. To the degree our thoughts are True thoughts, the Child of Light comes forth and births an experience of positive living in our lives, even an experience of walking with God as we journey through this life.
In turn, our life becomes the child of our thoughts and beliefs, of our consciousness. Joshua ben Joseph has urged us to become as little children, to let that Christ Child within express in and through us. And we have been guided and warned — that it is done unto us as we believe.
We are greater than our thoughts and beliefs, greater than the events and circumstances of our lives. We are the one thinking and believing, perceiving and interpreting. We can change our thoughts, beliefs, perceptions and interpretations, thereby we are free to change our choices and actions. We are the ones at the helm of our own minds and hearts, and ultimately, we are at the helm of our lives. We are at the helm either in lonely seeming separation from God or in glorious co-creation with God, as we let God in to Guide us. We have the offspring of our innerself reflecting back to us as our experience of our lives. If we want to know what our consciousness is, we can look at our responses to life! When we want different offspring, we can change our thoughts, beliefs, perceptions and interpretations and then our actions. When we change the cause, we can only reap different results.
How do we do this? There are many techniques taught today that are powerful. We can say affirmative, contemplative or other prayers. We can meditate and take charge of that wildly swinging mind. We can refocus our lives as we say affirmations that reflect the highest and best rather than the worst. We can visualize our lives as they would be lived in full alignment with God. We can hang around positive people. We can participate with a group of people on the path of spirituality, sharing, questioning, praying, and growing together. We can do forgiveness exercises. We can listen to tapes, go to lectures and take workshops. We can learn to be aware of what we are saying and thinking. We can monitor ourselves. As soon as we notice that we are off track, we can change what we are saying or thinking or doing. We can take responsibility for ourselves, for how our lives are now and for changing our lives so that they express the Truth of us and our magnificence, and so that our lives glorify God rather than ego. Then, we can begin to know the personal Christmas story of our own lives.
These techniques are powerful. And, it seems to me, necessary. As we clean up our lives from within, we find ourselves experiencing an entirely different form of life. We discover that we are free and whole and complete. We realize that we are lovable and capable. And then we realize that all others are also doing the best that they can in any given circumstance with the degree of awareness they have. We are all in process. Compassion grows in the heart of the spiritually awakened, alongside a sense of humor. At the same time, we may find that we need to make choices to move away from those not willing to awaken, shake the dust off of our feet and move on.
I’ve seen some try to skip dealing with their own mental level, and I’ve never seen the attempt to skip it produce any positive outcomes. We can only pretend that we do not need to clean up our inner programs. Pretending does not make it so. As long as we stay the same, our results stay the same. At some point, we must each face our own shadow and do the work to bring light there. The Christ is born in a pure heart.
Consciousness raising is a process that deepens with experience and time. Outside of this dimension, there may be no time or space; however, we do seem to be in this dimension and time and space do seem relevant here. These are the days of TV dinners, instant communication around the world, computers with vast stores of information available for the touch of a finger. And we sometimes need to remind ourselves that spiritual growth and awakening is still a process that has not been made instant by our technology. Sometimes, I wish it were otherwise. When I feel that urge for instant enlightenment (I want to know it all right now and skip the process), something within me lets me know that such a leap would be overwhelming and not necessarily beneficial. There are times of leaps, even quantum leaps, and there are times of slower unfoldment. Each is according to Perfect, Divine Timing. The Universe gentles me along in such a way that my growth is helpful, stretches me, but does not pull me apart. It is all wonderful.
Once we sincerely begin facing our shadows and bringing mental healing into our lives, we tend to experience a greater degree of health, prosperity, harmony, joy, love, self-acceptance and other-acceptance. Then, the little voice within nudges us onward. There is more. We can only drive so many cars and live in so many houses. We can only experience zestful and perfect health to its fullest, and not beyond. We can have a fullness of outer things, of material things and when we are full, we simply are full. We can only forgive so much, and then it is done. Once we fully accept ourselves, that too is done. So, the mental level takes us a far piece down the path, and then there is more.
For me, within, came the urging that grew ever louder and stronger. The Christ is within you. Practice the Presence of God. Know, at a deep level, that you are One. Let the Christ in you be born this day. Let the Consciousness of Oneness express fully in and through you. The mystical level of the meaning of Christmas began to form within my awareness.
It is not that all of the “work” and time spent on the mental level were not valid; in fact, that very step prepared the way for the next step. Without handling the mental stuff, we are not ready to take the inner journey of experiencing Oneness in an expanded way. As we clean up our inner selves, the veil becomes thinner or perhaps cleaner and more transparent and we hear the Inner Voice and see the Light within that is shining and is ready to shine forth in magnificence.
At this time on our planet, it seems to me that there are many who are touching the hem of the garment. There are many who worked on their mental lives to such a degree that they are hearing a deep calling to go further and let the Christ Consciousness be born within. That seed of potential needs but a little watering to encourage its birth. We need only a little willingness. As we knock, the door truly does open.
Perhaps, for the first time in history, there is a great possibility that many will be on the planet at the same time who have answered that call and let the Christ Consciousness be born within and expressed to the world.
Something in me says that many who read this little book will be those standing at the door of the Inner Kingdom, knocking. You, my beloved, are breathlessly close to the Christ Awareness.
How Will It Be?
How will it be? I know that I have had moments of hesitation and even moments of fear about the next step. I guess that I could say that I have tested the waters and, so far I have not been willing to stay there all of the time. So many thoughts come. What will others think? This is so unlike the ways of the world. Who, me? Little Marlene from Whittier, California? Is this insanity? I could just go quietly about my life, doing nice things and living a happy life like ordinary people. Maybe I have a Messiah complex.
But, as I often say, the Holy Spirit is a terrible nag. The Voice will not go away. I am ever urged onward, as I suspect you are too. The answers come on their own terms. We cannot stop them, for they have a life rooted in a Higher Order. What counts is what we think of ourselves and our relationship to God, and therefore our receptivity to God's nudgings. The ways of the world have not worked to produce the kingdom of heaven on earth, so do we continue to align ourselves with the lesser way? You and I are children of Life, equal to and at one with all — no greater and no lesser than any other child of Life. This is sanity, the world is insane. We would never be happy just living a nice, quiet life. We realize that all are One with God and all have the potentiality of living from Christ Consciousness. From this awareness, no-one is greater or lesser. All are beloved Lights of God. All are Godlings.
What things support the birth of the Christ within? I can tell you what I have learned, realizing that there is more. Of course, we must keep clarifying our consciousness and keep letting go of those things that are out of harmony with the highest and best. And we go further. The one major, significant step that I urge you to take is daily meditation in conjunction with daily prayer that is comtemplative and communing (not beseeching or separating). Go into the Silence and practice the Presence of God. Turn within to that Inner Guide for all decisions. Listen to the voice of inspiration. Build a deep awareness by daily communion in the Silence. In your prayers, speak words of Oneness and develop your recognition of God's presence fully, until a deep realization and experience of Oneness occurs.
Pay attention to your daily walk. Observe your thoughts, words and actions. Use the guide of our Master Teacher — by their fruits you shall know them. Ask yourself, “what is the fruit of this ________?” Somewhere within, we know the fruit of any action, thought or word. Will this idea, thought, word or action produce the fruit of the Christ Awareness? Or will this bring the fruit of separation and less than God? Be willing to pare away, gently, whatever is not of the highest and best. Be honest with yourself. Risk the frontier of inner honesty.
One of the old sayings that has helped me so much is: if you don’t change the direction you are going, you are likely to end up where you are headed. What direction is this thought, word or deed going? Do I want to go there? If so, keep it up. If not, stop it and turn it around.
For many of us, sharing the path with others who are open and questing and sincerely trying to welcome the Christ within, is an incredible assist. I mean delving into the conversation and thought at a deep level with commitment — taking classes, reading, applying, experimenting, having our intention toward the Light. For me, this is the single most significant study I have ever done. Just going on Sundays to a church or synagogue or mosque alone will not do it. It requires deeper study and application in order to make the shifts in consciousness at the level we are discussing.
Living In Christ Consciousness
You may be wondering, “what is the result of all this attention and energy directed toward the spiritual path?” What would it be like to live in Christ Consciousness?
I don’t presume to have all of the answers for you, or even for myself, at this point. I know some and I will share what I see. What I shall say comes form the touch of experiences that I have had, from reading about others and from the Voice within me.
As the Christ, you experience life in an entirely different way. You have handled forgiveness to such a degree that it is no longer necessary. You have ceased judging others, so you have no need to forgive them anymore. You know, at once, that each being is a child of Light. Your seeing this, assists it in coming forth into expression. You look beyond appearances and see the Truth of everyone and every situation. You experience the spirituality of compassion.
You notice that somewhere along the path, struggle and conflict have dropped off. Each day is an experience of harmony, even in the midst of what the world might not call harmony. You see an expanded version of life, a larger play. The melodramas in your life, no longer hold your rapt attention, for you see beyond them. You realize that the melodramas are merely shadows; ways of acting out our various degrees of awareness. And they drop away when they are no longer useful as teachers. You see Harmony operating everywhere, always.
One day, you realize that you no longer feel lonely anymore. You vaguely recall that loneliness came out of feeling separate from God and you are so aware of your Oneness that it is impossible to feel lonely anymore. You know that you move through life with the Living Presence of God. Wherever you stand is holy ground. You; therefore, move with a new confidence, based on knowing that you have an invisible means of support.
When questions arise, you turn immediately to the Inner Teacher, to your God. You know that within you, there is that which knows the answer to everything, so you never hesitate to turn within first. Infinite Wisdom guides your every step and every decision. You know what you need to know, when you need to know it. You do not need to carry a lot around with you for the answers, because within you is THE answer. You no longer need to go around asking everyone for their opinions and getting confused by the variety of opinions. Clearly the highest, the best answer comes to you as you automatically turn within.
Scarcity is a dim memory. You know with every fiber of your being, that God is the Source of everything. God expresses itself to you in the form of all of your needs met and there is plenty to spare and to share. You do not need huge bank accounts, and you no longer spend a great deal of your time taking care of your money. You allow the Divine Circulation to play in your life. You remember Jesus demonstrating the coin out of the fish’s mouth to pay the taxes and you feel somewhat like that. As you cooperate with God, whatever your needs are, they are simply met. Truly, the Universe is abundant and you, as a child of Life, are abundantly supplied. Yes, even lavishly supplied.
You feel a deep and bubbling joy. Misery is gone. The joy of God plays in and through you. You find joy in people and situations constantly. Even the so-called tiniest things are joy-filled. There is much laughter in your life. People feel joyful just being around you. In fact, there is a certain charm that is experienced by others around you that is quite magnetic. It is the joy of God playing through you. Life is fun, happy, humorous and so wonderful. In many ways, you see the cosmic joke. The heavy energy of significance is gone. Delight sparkles in you.
You notice that healings happen around you. You see right beyond any condition that is not complete health. You see the Divine Inheritance of Perfect Life. You know that God is health and that the people you see are one with God. You see no reason for less than perfect health in anyone who is willing to be healed. Also, there comes the recognition and knowing that it is all right when others wish not to be healed, according to your definition of healing, at this time. There is a larger plan and you are attuned to it. You have no need to be pushy. You know what you know and are ready and willing to assist all who ask — and you are equally ready and willing to let everyone make their own choices. There is a deep knowing of soul freedom, of eternal unfoldment, of God Intelligence being in charge.
Perhaps, the finest of gifts is that of Love. The Love of God expresses in and through you at all times. You feel and know that you are loved and that you are Love, itself. A radiance seems to emanate from you. The precious experience of God Love is felt deeply and cherished as the finest of treasures. The richness of this Love fills your moment-by-moment experience.
Others feel that love, that unconditional, agape love emanating forth from God through you, and in many it ignites the love latent within them. You see Love in everyone and look upon life with Love. In the past, you might have had a syrupy kind of love, a weeping sympathy. Now you know about God Love and your Love is free. You can feel empathy for others and love them without becoming part of their challenge and sinking into sorrow. Your love radiates a knowing beyond any temporary condition or mask. No matter what may appear at the outer level, your loving eyes see right to the Spiritual and the Truth. People remark that your love is unconditional. It truly is, for you do not rely on outer appearances, but you rely on Spirit. Your love is constant. Your love is God, loving through you, by means of you. Some say that your heart Chakra is open. Whereas before there was fear, now there is perfect love.
What results in your life is a total experience of peace. What do you have to be unpeaceful about? God is everywhere, always fully present. The Infinite Intelligence of the Universe won’t let you down. If you can’t trust God, who can you trust? The clarity of your peace is contagious. Others feel peaceful as they come into your presence. You are truly a beneficial presence wherever you go. You know many things that will not fit into words, that have to be communicated nonverbally. It grows so strong within you that people do; in fact, “catch” it. You are living the Christ Awareness.
You have had your own personal Christmas. You have gone through the pains of childbirth in varying degrees to birth the Christ that is within you. This babe requires your ongoing tender love and nurturing to bring it fully into every aspect of your life, to bring it to maturity. You must now tend the garden of your heart, rocking the cradle of your soul to keep it attuned to the Divine Rhythm. With your gentle co-parenting with God, the babe will grow. It will grow beyond where we can guess. It will lead you to glories untold.
It seems to me that whatever we may say about God, God is more because God is infinite. Infinite cannot fit into words or definitions, for if it could, it would be finite. We can never fully know all of God. So, as our Christed life with God develops, we will be led to new horizons, to places at this moment we are unable to fathom.
We have only covered a few of the attributes of God here together. One of the things I believe is that when we experience the Cosmic or Christ Awareness, all the attributes express through us in a very expanded and expanding way. And I believe that when we totally experience any one attribute, we have all the attributes expressing. An example would be: someone who is truly peaceful is also loving and joyous. You can’t be peaceful and be unloving at the same time. That isn’t peace.
I think that all of us yearn for the birth of the Christ Awareness. I think that our deep knowing tells us that we came here to learn to be Love and to learn all of the things that are Spiritually True. A Voice within calls us home to the Kingdom within. Nothing else will satisfy us. Oh, we may try many things: materiality, sensuality, workaholism, other isms or any number of other things — and at the end of each of these paths, we find ourselves still hungry, still yearning. We realize that we were not hungry for these things. All the stuff of this life is fine and none of it is what we ultimately came to this planet for. And besides, when we pursue the spiritual path fully, all of the things of life come in flowingly.
I remember Peace Pilgrim sharing that one day she awakened to the realization that she was working very hard to support her drapes and china closet and other belongings in the manner to which she had become accustomed. She had given up her true mission in life in order to take care of her belongings. She gave away everything and spent the rest of her life teaching peace. She walked all over the world, giving of herself, of her peace. What she had were the clothes on her back and her Christ awareness.
I am not suggesting that you and I do this. That was her path. I AM suggesting that we look at how much of our life is spent with things that ultimately have no significance to us, how much of our life are we spending on the truly meaningful things. What is truly meaningful to you?
Someday, you and I will leave this dimension. As we give of ourSelves, our life makes a powerful and positive difference. We can be confident, then, that we will leave a world that is better because we lived here, than it would have been if we had not come.
What will we take with us? We will take our consciousness. Our soul will go forth to the Light, with its degree of awareness to continue the eternal unfoldment.
Let us enjoy the pleasures of life here on planet Earth in the third dimension, knowing that this is a unique opportunity to experience life the way it is here. And let us keep in perspective the spiritual reasons for being here and the eternal journey upon which we are walking.
The Voice within you is calling you right now. You have a homesick kind of feeling to return to the Spiritual Kingdom within and facilitate the birth of the Christ within you. You realize that you do not have to give up anything to be the Light of the world that you are — you only need to release the illusions of separation and spend more time, daily, doing your spiritual practices. You really do want to contribute here and to let the Christ awareness express in and through you. I know this is true about you.
The Christ within is calling you right now. Answer that call. “Yes, I am ready to be the Light and to live from Oneness. I am willing to be one of those awakened souls that are walking this planet right now.”
I am willing to let Christmas be a personal experience for me this year by accepting the birth of the Christ Awareness in me. This year, the holidays are an incredible time of rejoicing, for I have come.
I release the ghosts of Christmas past. I let go of the dramas in memory around other Christmas times. This Christmas I see as Itself, for I no longer view it through the stream of memories, nor through the commercial eyes of the consumer. This is a personal Christmas, a time of awakening.
May the Christ be born in you. I salute that Christ in you. I love you. Thank you for letting me share with you today.
Dr. M. Marlene Oaks