For this is what the Christ child means to so many – the light that saves us – the joy of new birth – the celebrating of the shepherds, angels and wise men. The love of Mary and Joseph. The innocence and awe of the animals and children as shared in the hymns around the story, which is a beautiful one that still touches our hearts.
As well as the meaningful story that we enjoy reading and singing about at Christmas, in Unity we also look at the story metaphysically; moving beyond a literal meaning to a deeper truth that applies to all of us, here and now.
From Unity co-founder, Charles Fillmore:
- The shepherds represent the protecting energy of God watching over us, acknowledging God, as Spirit and Source, our ever-present help and understanding.
- The angels are God’s messengers bringing divine ideas and messages to help us overcome all limited beliefs and conditions.
- Mary represents the soul that magnifies the Lord, through her devotional preparations for the higher life, along with the divine motherhood of love.
- Joseph represents divine wisdom, which in the beginning of the story does not understand what is happening, yet comes to know his place and what is his to do.
- The star of Bethlehem represents our inner conviction of our own divinity, helping us to move forward and succeed
- The birth of the Christ, which represents the birth of our true Self, our divinity coming forth into the world. Not through our efforts but through the activity of the Lord, our Christ self.
Source: Revealing Word, A Dictionary of Metaphysical Terms: The Metaphysical Bible Dictionary
To make the story real for you, take a moment to reflect on a challenge you are experiencing right now. It may be a health or financial challenge, or relationship issues – anything you are experiencing. Take a moment to be present to it and gently acknowledge it. Now, take the symbols above and apply them to your situation.
- The shepherds - Acknowledge God as your Source, as Spirit, here for you now. Through Source, there is a divine energy with and within you, guiding you, protecting you as help and understanding, to see you through – feel into that energy for a few moments …
- The Angels -Make space in your mind and heart to receive divine ideas, inspiration, to help you take your next steps in a positive direction …
- Mary and Joseph -Let the qualities of divine love and wisdom fill you … feel into them in your mind, heart and body, for they reside within you, to support and be with you on this journey of healing and understanding …
- The Star- Alllow yourself to feel the conviction of your own divinity – you are human and at the same time divine, with all the qualities you need within you and shared with you …
- The Birth of Christ –As you move through the challenge to the revelation of healing, abundance or harmony, know with faith that the Christ in you is being revealed – your inner light shining more brightly, the Christ child born in you once more. Rest in this knowing for a few moments …
As we practice using the tools that are here for us, we feel more resilient, strong, uplifted and free, ready to celebrate Christmas wherever we are. In doing this, let us also take time to reflect on, honour and celebrate our deepening experience of the birth of the Christ energy within us, to witness our divinity being realised even more this year, to witness peace, harmony and understanding in the world.
All of us at Unity UK hold you in blessings and prayers, affirming for you a blessed Advent and Christmas.
I think it’s very healthy to step outside the planning and preparation of Advent and Christmas and take some moments to appreciate the gifts we already have. Perhaps you want to write these down. Lots of people have a daily/weekly practice of listing 3 (or more) things every morning or evening that they are grateful for, to begin or end their day. Gratitude boards, a more creative activity, requires the making of a collage using pictures and photos to represent your own personal gifts and blessings. Place this somewhere you can see it and admire it every day. Mine is above my bed. Gratitude may be acknowledging and reciprocating the kindness that others have shown us … or it may just be sitting in a quiet space, breathing in and breathing out, focusing your attention on one or more things that you truly do feel are blessings in your life.
“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” – Colossians 3:15
In this process of seeing the good, in this process of being present to what is beautiful, I create the flow of divine abundance. I create an open heart and open mind, ready to receive the next instalment of blessings making their way to me. Our bodies respond with amazing chemicals when our minds are still and grateful. Have a go creating your own Thanksgiving ritual or gratitude practice this week.
Make it magical and make it yours.
Why am I writing this? We are busy preparing for Christmas here at Unity, as we get ready for the season of Advent.
I love switching on the Christmas lights at the end of the month, thinking about presents, cards and such like. I also deeply appreciate the spiritual aspect of Advent. Taking time each day to get quiet and still, reflecting on the important things in life, like family, community, spreading joy and happiness.
Yes, it is good to celebrate the uplifting energy of Christmas in whatever way we can: to enjoy the twinkling lights, the decorations and perhaps the party atmosphere of the younger generation.
I believe it is also important to reflect on the deeper meaning of Christmas, finding ways to support those around us who are not able to celebrate in the ways they would wish.
Would you like to join us this Advent, with our daily readings focusing on faith, peace, love and joy? It is a beautiful way to feel connected with each other, either by reading and reflecting in your own time, or joining us on Zoom morning or evening, to share the season with our wonderful Unity family.
However you prepare for Christmas, together let us bring the energy of faith, peace, love and joy into our world right where we are. Let us live the spiritual meaning of Christmas.
Rev. Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Silent Unity and Daily Word UK
There are of course some famous examples of the more dramatic kind, like Paul’s blinding conversion on the road to Damascus, as described in the New Testament. And later, in the lives of the saints, there are plenty of colourful – sometimes lurid - stories of sudden revelation. Much later, in the twentieth century, the psychologist Carl Jung, a spiritual healer in word and deed, talked of ‘big dreams’ experienced by his patients during their therapy, when vivid archetypal images bearing a powerful spiritual message seem to loom up from deep within the psyche.
But does it have to be like a Hollywood film? AA’s ‘Big Book’, speaks also of spiritual awakening of the ‘educational variety’ – meaning the kind of experience which grows almost imperceptibly day by day, month by month, year by year – and I am sure many will recognise in this their own life-experience. The tiniest events, momentary sensations, can act as ripples upon our spiritual consciousness, producing quite dramatic results over time.
I was listening to a recent archive talk by Unity minister Jim Rosemergy where he tells the story of a young man in the Mid-West who was experiencing a tough time. Deep in confusion and melancholy he sat one day on a lonely rocky outcrop near his country home. It was a foggy day. Nothing seemed clear, inside or out. But then suddenly an American bald eagle flew past. The young man looked up and for a tiny second their eyes met, the man’s and the bird’s – and his life was utterly changed. He had glimpsed a vivid, overwhelming sense of connection, just for a brief moment. There may have been many sad or uncertain times ahead, but this young person was never quite the same again.
When I was in my late twenties – and still drinking far too much – I took a lonely camping holiday, trekking along the Pembrokeshire coast path, with the weight of a comforting bottle of whisky in my kit bag, along with my tent and sleeping bag.
Deep in the night, in the middle of my journey, on a craggy clifftop miles from civilisation, I woke up in my tent, badly wanting to pee! I struggled outside into what seemed the thickest blackness I had ever met. But then I looked up. There were the stars. Tens, hundreds, thousands, millions, trillions of them. I stared up. They stared back. And just for a second there was nothing else but me and them.
Three hours earlier I had gulped down whisky to fortify me for the night. Now I didn’t need booze. I had found something far more important to sustain me.
I can name perhaps another five or six experiences like this over the years, ripples in my everyday life which have gently and imperceptibly brought me to this spot. Spiritually awakened? Maybe. Maybe not quite. There is never an end to this road. But it is the chance moment, the everyday throw-away experience which has marked my particular way. The eye of an eagle met suddenly up there in the sky, when everything else seemed just so much blank white.
Media Producer, Unity UK
Finding the balance in this means finding the balance in myself. Finding the way to recognise my own feelings of anger, resentment, revenge, fear, etc., yet not identifying with them: not stuck in them and then acting them out. It is honouring my humanity yet knowing my divinity.
This means holding the space for feelings that are very uncomfortable, which normally we do everything we can to avoid. It is true – they are not of my true nature. However, it is only when I recognise them and gently hold the space for them, that I can find my way through to breathe through them. My personal experience is that when we bring all that we are not (everything that comes from the separated self-identity) to the Light and rest here, (God and our divinity) all that we truly are, shines through. This is me, as Kimerie, making space for God to be God through me. As I rest in this beautiful energy, I find I can release the feelings and experience a profound transformation and healing.
This is a work in progress. It is a daily practice – one of continually remembering The Golden Key, as Emmett Fox wrote – bring my awareness back to God: God as all-good without opposite. God as love, wisdom, right action, true power that enables us all to know our equality and oneness in the Mind of God.
What is mine to do? It is to allow the transformative power of God to work through me so my own inner fear, anger or grief can be transformed, thereby enabling others to do the same. Adding positively to our collective consciousness.
Sometimes it is holding the prayer energy of peace in all people, with divine wisdom guiding our world leaders as we all seek to find our way through the violence and grief. This is the feminine principle of Divine Mind expressing through us, the receptive aspect of being, as Charles Fillmore explained. Sometimes it is to take action, the masculine aspect of being which is dynamic and energetic. Give our time, energy or money to help in a practical way. In each moment, as we centre into God-Presence, we will know what to do and how to do it.
My prayer, for our world and myself, is to find the pure energy of God in the midst of every person, situation and event unfolding: To know strength, courage, love and wisdom to help me face and release my own inner demons, so I can be fully present to those who are struggling in any way.
My faith is that we can, together, face our inner fears and doubt and find release. We can stand for peace and right action, when done with compassion and understanding. Right where we are, we stand in our truth. Bless you for all you are doing and being, in your world.
Director of Silent Unity UK
How are you with dealing with your mistakes? I must admit that laughing about mine, of which there are also many, is not something I find easy to do. There is still an aspect of me, the inner child, which needs to be liked or loved by everyone, because this part of me has not connected with the Love within. My little girl thinks she must be perfect and has failed when she isn’t. Phew! This is hard work and not a lot of fun. In fact, disappointment, to say the least, is the result.
I am learning through all this to be more kind to myself. We all make mistakes; it is part of being human. However, I have also been thinking more recently, that my spiritual journey is not about making myself a better or perfect human being, because of feeling unloved or unworthy. My ego thinking cannot do this anyway. I am not a problem to be fixed and nor are you.
For me, my spiritual journey is about reconnecting with my spiritual Self that is pure, loving, wise, free and radiant. Letting this beautiful energy shine though me. For it is this energy, the Pure, wholesome love and life of God that changes me, heals the wounds of the inner child and sets me free. Now my human and spiritual qualities can merge. This begins with acts of loving kindness and acceptance.
Through personal experience, I have discovered that I cannot force change when I think I am not good enough. I just get more of the same - not feeling good enough. My experience is that it is not my effort, my thinking, which changes me. It is God energy through me, through us, the Christ within, which does the work. Right now, for me, life is less about trying to be perfect and more about accepting and laughing more at my mistakes, apologising when I have hurt another and tuning into God within, thus letting my inner light shine.
Like Dawn French, can we laugh at our mistakes? Can we know our mistakes do not define us? We are not just human beings. We are spiritual beings, having human experiences, which are here to wake us up to the beautiful, radiant beings we are in the mind of God.
Rev Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Silent Unity and Daily Word UK
In Silent Unity, our prayers and hearts go out to everyone impacted by the conflict between Israel and Gaza, and all world conflicts. Rev. Kimerie Mapletoft suggests thoughts and prayers which might offer hope and support for us all everywhere in the world in the sad and difficult times.
"...Our hearts infold all those impacted and we respond with love and peace. So let's take a moment to hold that energy together. To bless our world and our leaders in the knowing of
Wisdom, Unity and Peace. And to know that a way can be found so that all people live in
I live the truth I know – putting our principles into practice
Unity’s five principle invite us to:
One or more of these principles is always covered when we share any Unity discussion, study class, meeting or talk, as each one is core to our teaching and practice.
For me personally, I relate so much with Jesus’ statement, ‘I and the father are one’ (John 10:30). To live life remembering this as my truth as well, invites me to let go of personal burdens or needs; invites me to rest, abide, in God-experience. This sets me free.
However, I also know that if I am to engage with this as a truth statement, I must live my life in response to this. This is quite a claim and to be honest, quite a feat.
To know my oneness with God is also to know your oneness with God. If we live in oneness with God and each other, there can be no opposition, no blame, no judgement; no form of attack. How can there by when we know we are one? I would only be hurting myself.
This is truly a daily practice – I am a work in progress!
For I recognise that the daily practice of living these principles calls me to let go of my human responses and connect with the spiritual Self that knows only oneness.
Therefore, my daily practice has become one of letting go – of blame, resentment, condemnation, criticism when things do not go the way I want. Even when I witness the tragedy of war, with so many innocent people hurt or killed.
In Silent Unity, our prayers and hearts go out to everyone impacted by the conflict between Israel and Gaza and indeed any conflict. At the same time, my response has to be – how can I bring peace into the world instead of conflict? The answer must be, by living peace, being peace and responding as peace: living the truth I know.
This is why I write, living the truth is perhaps the hardest thing to do. Yet as we make this our practice, it does get easier, I promise. We start to live in a new way that brings blessings of peace, life and love, which can only be good for everyone.
Love – Yes, it is our true spiritual nature, but I would also say to express Love in our human experience, we need to balance it with divine wisdom, guidance, and discernment. Love without wisdom and discernment (right judgement) can be like a ship without a sail. It may flounder in the doldrums without the breeze of “wisdom” to push it along. Then, when right judgement is added, the ship will be pushed along in the right direction …. For me, this is God in action working in and through us. How blessed we are.
Love can be interpreted in many different ways.
An impermanent love is when we relate love to things that give us instant pleasure and perhaps say; “Oh, I loved that film, or I love chocolate, or I love that author, etc.” All worldly things are impermanent and changing. We can and often do, change our minds about them.
Then we have romantic love, which can be very consuming and passionate for a while, but will over time either disappear or change. We may decide that the fire has gone out. Alternatively, we don’t really like or have anything in common with that person anymore and we move on. Or, it can turn into something deeper, and the relationship becomes one of companionship and comfort maybe; still love, but more permanent.
And, coming up another level – unconditional love, which is love that endures and is permanent. The obvious example being the love of a parent for their children. The children may go off the rails, or even do bad things, but I would say that in our hearts we still, and will, always love them, whether they are small children or fully grown large adult children!
Finally, I come to the constant, eternal and enduring Love with a capital L, which is God, Spirit, Life, All that is, and many other names, or even no name. It is the core of our beingness, the animating loving energy, the Presence, the Peace, that surpasses all understanding. This to me is who and what we are: Pure Love.
I can’t talk or begin to understand the limitlessness of God, Life, because I’m not clever enough and I haven’t got the words, but at the core of my being I just know, that God is Good, and in my quiet times I feel my oneness in God….
Yes, we express from our human nature. However, we can also express from our indwelling Truth, which is Love. For we are one in God, God is Love, and we are made for goodness. This is our Truth. We cannot be separate from our truth, however much our humanity likes to think otherwise.
These are my thoughts up to now, but I do acknowledge that as my spiritual understanding unfolds they may be different, next week, next month, next year or even tomorrow!
Leader, Unity Birmingham
In a recent metaphysics class, we explored the paradox of Divine Law and Grace.
Divine Law, according to Charles Fillmore, Unity co-founder, is ‘the orderly working out of the principles of Being into expression and manifestation throughout creation.’ (Revealing Word). One of the ways we witness this is through the law of cause and effect: The idea that as we sow, we reap. Also according to Charles Fillmore, ‘Divine Law cannot be broken. It holds humankind responsible for the results of its labours’.
However, the experience of Grace exists as well. Eric Butterworth, in his book, Celebrate Yourself, writes, “Grace is simply an explanation of a wonderful facet of the activity of God in you. It is not something to work for, to develop. It simply is.”
For me, Grace is Divine Love in action. There is more love here for us all than we can ever know. We do not need to work to deserve it – Love is our birth right for it is our essence; our True Self. I believe we are here to be the expression of Love, using wisdom, to bless all of life, including ourselves.
Eric Butterworth writes that ‘God’s desire to express completely through you and as you is so great that you never completely reap the harvest of error and you always reap more good than you sow.’ I believe this is to enable us to know ourselves as Love, the image and likeness of God. For me, this was a huge part of Jesus’ message. He moved from Mosaic Law to using this law of love and grace to do what was right and good, instead of what the law dictated. The parable of The Good Samaritan in Luke 10 is a perfect example of this.
When we live this way, as Jesus taught us to do, we move beyond being simply Children of God, living only through the law of cause and effect, to the knowing that we are the hands and feet of God: Divine Love is lived and shared through us. Love is the first and last cause. Ours is to simply abide in Pure Presence and let this love flow out to all, through our thoughts, words and actions.
How do you experience the activity of Divine grace in your life?
Rev. Kimerie Mapletoft
Director, Silent Unity and Daily Word UK
Unity in the UK