Whenever we look at such epic stories and myths like the birth of Jesus Christ there are at least three different levels we can consider for interpretation: the physical/historical or concrete level, the psychological/mythological or soul level and the macroscopical or cosmic level.
Cosmologically, we celebrate Christmas around the winter solstice when the night is longest and the day shortest. We have the least amount of sunshine in the northern hemisphere. Since ancient times the sun has been worshiped as a symbol of a higher light- and life-giving power. Symbolically during the winter solstice, the sun is in it’s most intense point of besiegement by the darkness. However, this point of deepest darkness is also the point of transformation. It’s the turning point when the force of the sun increases again and the days start to become longer. Almost unnoticeable in the beginning everything starts to move towards light, growth, and expansion again. It’s a new beginning!
It’s therefore not surprising that many myths and legends around the birth of light, the birth of Sons of God, of miracles of light exist around the time of the winter solstice in different traditions and believes. Irrespective of the outer form of these legends and your personal believes I hope we can agree that the essence of all these celebrations can be seen as the light being born into the darkness, new light and life coming to the world and symbolically triumphing over the darkness.
In the Christian tradition, it says very clearly: “Humanity, rejoice! For tonight the Savior is born.” It doesn’t say: “More than 2000 years ago a boy was born by the name of Jesus who kind of became a world teacher and founder of a religion. So let’s have a commemoratory birthday party for him…”
If we bring the miracle of the light that is born on the darkest day, during the darkest hour from something that happened in the past to something that can happen within all of us at this very moment the question remains: what could this light represent? What does the birth of the light mean for us on a soul level?
First of all, I think it’s a reminder for all of us that the light is born INTO the darkness. There is a certain amount of introspection, of retreat and stillness required to make space for the light to be awakened. I like the metaphor that Jesus wasn’t born in the busy and lit up guesthouse – because there was no space (for this essence of light). He was born in the barn that was empty and quiet and where no was looking for the Son of God.
Psychologically, we also speak of the Christ Consciousness – one of the highest states of consciousness that for me embodies all the different qualities and aspects of LOVE. This is the consciousness that we can all aspire to develop, honor and nurture. THE LIGHT OF LOVE that is born for me encompasses qualities such as compassion, respect, joy, love, forgiveness, peace, generosity, faith and hope.
And many of the traditions we honor revolve around these qualities. We share this time with our family, our friends. We think of the people that are dear to us. People who have had an impact on our lives in the past year. We are grateful. It’s a time of reconciliation, of putting aside our conflicts and differences and come together as a family, as a community and yes – as humanity. It’s a magical time where almost everything is possible. It’s a time to make peace – with ourselves, with the people around us, with the world. It’s a time to forgive and show mercy. It’s a time to give each other a gift and a sign of goodwill, which yes, in some ways has turned into a material battle, but at the core of it is about giving, sharing and bringing happiness to our loved ones. It’s about receiving as well.
So however you spend these holidays, my wish for you is that you get a chance to pause and take a moment to connect to your heart and find within it this spark of hope, faith, and love that’s always there and that no darkness can ever fully extinguish. I hope you’ll find a way to share your joy and gratitude with others, giving not only material presents but also the gift of forgiveness, of love, compassion and goodwill to yourself and others.
May this time be merry and may your inner light shine strongly and beautifully for all to see.
Peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind – Merry Christmas!