Even if one is not Christian, the symbolic significance of the sacred moment of the birth of Christ pertains to us all as a reference to a milestone in our own spiritual development. Christmas symbolizes the moment you let all the masks fall away, including the ones that you yourself believed in, the moment you accept the emptiness of the ego and permit yourself to emerge into life as who you really are. Christmas is the moment when all that is human within you surrenders to the divine within you. Instead of looking for a savior to come and set you free, you become what you were looking for.
To fulfill that mandate, Christmas must be a time of deep meditation, of burrowing within until the Self is realized, then allowing the Real Self to emerge completely from the labyrinth of unconsciousness, to be fully and truly born into this world. This is the only birth of Christ that counts—when Christ is born within you, not simply a celebration of that long ago time when Self Realization was born within someone else in the Middle East.
We are each also in the position of Mary, since each of us must surrender to Absolute Spirit, to be impregnated with divine light, and to carry that union of the human and the divine until both elements are fully integrated and ready to begin the labor of miraculous birth and individuation. In this season of transformation, let us each also humbly accept that we may sometimes find ourselves in the position of Joseph, and to support others who may have grown beyond us, and though we cannot be directly involved in the miracles that are occurring to them, let us not be infected with envy, but protect and honor the divine spark as its halo becomes visible in those we love, even if their transformation brings about a separation and alteration of our relationship. Let us each be the midwife of our own divine birth, and assist in those of others, so that the Cosmic Christ may be born not only in oneself but in every one.
What does it mean to allow Christ to be born within me? A time comes in the life of each of us when we outgrow our ego identity. None of the old desires does it for me any more. Something in me recognizes that reality is different from any of the stories about it that I told myself, or that were told to me by my family, society, or even my religion. Outgrowing those stories, and the desires and inhibitions that were kept alive by those stories, leads one to a new kind of aloneness. One can no longer fit in with the crowd as before. Thus, “there is no room at the inn” when this new birth occurs. One must accept one’s differentness, one’s uniqueness, even though that may require being born in a manger.
Of course, the new identity cannot be born until the old one dies. So one must put to rest the egoic indulgence in narcissism, the game of anger and blame, or co-dependent people-pleasing, or the many ways of camouflage, evasion, and denial. One must be prepared to be fully present and transparent—not just for oneself, but for all those who are accompanying one in one’s life. There is a surrender involved, not just to Spirit, but to life, a commitment to responsibility to the dharma of one’s chosen role in the grand worldly illusion.
How, then, to approach a spiritual Christmas? First, consider offering yourself some gifts: Can you look back upon the year and feel satisfied that you met life’s challenges this year, that you grew in wisdom and emotional maturity, that you let go of some of the old limitations, that you at least made progress in shedding the old skin, that you discovered new horizons? Allow yourself to accept even what you think of as failings, by learning the lessons those experiences were meant to teach. Give up indulging in guilt, shame, and other forms of self-torment. Before you can align what you want with what you desire, so that you may fulfill your highest goals, you must heal the split between who you wish you were and who you are afraid you are. To do that, you must discover who you really are.
And give some gifts to your Self for the future. Make some powerful affirmations: I accept my Self. I am at peace with my Self. I am a being of love, of joy, of infinite patience and understanding. I will face all the uncertainties of existence with calmness and fortitude. I live from the Heart of Spirit, from the space of inner silence and divine love.
Then look even deeper within and ask: Have I come to experience the permanent immanent transcendence of the Real Self? Can I afford to give myself that gift as well?
Something in me wants to be born that is indescribable, unspeakable, incomprehensible. I am a wordless presence that is beyond all desire—and all fear. I am filled with wonder. I am the awareness that contains all, the nothingness and the whole, creator and creation. I am one with the Being of God. It is a sacred moment of entering into eternal silence—a silent night, a holy night of the soul. And what follows is a new birth of joy in the world. May this year be for you the Real Christmas, the eternal Christmas that the religious holiday only symbolizes. Let us go beyond symbols now. The world is waiting for You to be born.