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
Unity in the UK