Back in 2007, I watched an episode of Oprah that set me on a whole new path. It was the episode about The Secret and reading that book gave me an answer to the big question I’d had for so many years of my life. I grew up in the south (aka, the Bible Belt) and attended a Baptist church. In my teens, I started to question a lot of what I learned in church. I couldn’t fathom how God could damn anyone to Hell or how with all the millions of people in the world, there was only one way to salvation-through Jesus. Once I left home, I also left religion. I spent a good many years doubting God’s existence at all.
But when I read The Secret, I learned the idea that God is energy and that energy was within me, the very core of who I am. From that moment on, I was a believer -- but not in the Christian God I was raised to worship and fear, but in God as a Universal driving force that is within everyone and everything.
At that point, I began to seek answers to my spiritual questions and ultimately I was led to a church called Unity. It was there that I felt that thunderous YES from inside my soul. I’d found a church that confirmed so much of what I’d always believed deep down and to top it off the minister was a woman! That year I attended the Christmas Eve service at Unity Eastside. Since my family had a standing Christmas Eve tradition, I’d never been to such a service. I had no idea what to expect. In Unity we look to Jesus as an example, a teacher and guide, instead of a savior -- so I wasn’t sure how the story of his birth would be presented. It turns out that like me, Rev. Jean doesn’t really believe the story is literally true. In the service she is not afraid to voice the questions we all have. I mean, it is only logical that we have doubts about Mary’s virgin status, right?
In the Christmas Eve service at my Unity church, I learned to look at the story of the birth of Jesus as a symbolic story of the awakening of the Christ within me. Another belief in Unity is that Christ is not a part of Jesus’s name but rather a title bestowed upon him because of his enlightened spirit and leadership. That Christ spirit is within all of us. Just as Jesus said in the Bible, everything he has done we can also do. Each character or symbol in the story has its own representation for something within us. The star in the story symbolizes our intuition, Mary is our nurturing qualities, Joseph represents wisdom, the journey to Bethlehem is our journey to reunite with our God Self, and of course the baby Jesus is our rebirth into our Christ spirit.
So, for those of you, like me, who struggle with the true meaning of Christmas, I offer you this idea. The spirit that was in Jesus is also within us. We are divine and at this time of year we can embrace that part of ourselves. The birth of Christ can happen right now, in you! What about you? Are you a Christian who’s struggled with questions about the birth of Jesus? Have you felt comfortable sharing them with others of the same faith? Is there any special meanings you take from the story?
Love and Light,
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