Friday, December 24, 2010

CHRISTMAS MEDITATIONS

Howdy folks. It is once again Christmas Eve. Whether you celebrate the holiday or not there is a wonderful quality to Christmas Eve. So many people have been manically rushing about getting things done that there is a psychic quality in the air which builds and builds and builds until it climaxes this afternoon.

Tonight at around 9pm most stores will close. People will finish all their preparations and begin gathering with friends and relations or simply retire for the evening. Children will go to sleep with visions of Iphones dancing in their heads and there is a collective sigh of relief throughout the land.

Just as I did with the Eclipse, I encourage using this time to enter into contemplative prayer. Do not make a big deal about it, just slip off somewhere for 15 minutes and open yourself to the flow of grace. Relax the mind and be filled with the holy spirit. In this way you achieve Henosis, union with the ultimate reality. Rather than using effort to reach out to God, simply allow God to show himself within you. In this way you complete the circuit and will realize that as Meister Ekhart says: "The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love."

After you are done relaxing into contemplation, perhaps spare just a few more minutes contemplating the Christmas mystery. You do not have to be Christian to do this. I am often amazed at the zeal at which modern Pagans will jump willie nilly into just about ANY religion and lay claim to any mystery, yet feel absolutely forbidden from even thinking about Christian mysteries in the same way.

By the mystery of Christmas I do not mean the overall meaning of Yule, or the birth of the sun at Equinox or anything like that. I mean the mystery that Linus revealed so elequently to Charlie Brown.

Two Thousand Years ago, the gods were exalted as higher beings which rules our world. Most religion of any kind was mostly about making proper sacrifices at proper times so as to feed God or the Gods and not invoke their wrath.

The Christmas mystery is about cutting through that conception of divinity as something so distant from ourselves. In the Christmas story God manifests not just as a human, but starts off life in just about the lowest and meekest possible way: as a baby who has to sleep in an animal trough. The message is that there is no-one that is so low that the divine spark does not dwell within them.

It is a shame that most Christianity focuses more on the fact that Christ was fully God rather than the fact that, as the apostles creed states, Christ was also fully human. It is the fully human part that makes the whole thing useful. As Bisphop Athanaseus put it "God became man, so that man could become God.". The best part about this is all we need to do is allow it to happen. Theosis is the process of making us by Grace what God is by nature. There are no qualifiers for it, no hoops to jump through. Just do it.

This has NOTHING to do with "accepting Christ as your personal lord and savior" or any other such rubbish espoused by fundamentalists. Nor does it have anything to do with being part of the right Chruch  as some Catholics and Orthodox would have you believe. It just has to do with openness to ultimate reality.

Throughout his life, Christ never drills people on their beliefs. He simply asked people to love god and their neighbors.

In the Gospel of Luke that Linus quotes in the Charlie Brown special the angel of the lord says:

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to ALL PEOPLE.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, AND ON EARTH PEACE AND GOODWILL TOWARD MAN.


Do not let anyone play the "us and them" game with Christmas. That is NOT what it is about.

So, for those of you that celebrate it: Merry Christmas!
For those that don't, hey its Christmas Day anyway, it may as well be merry!
Peace and Goodwill to you all, so matter what religion or lack thereof.
Amen.

11 comments:

Michael said...

I find your take on Christianity interesting. I am not a Christian--far from it--and gave up on trying to find something useful in its teachings, having had it forced on me for years. My reasoning may be facile, but goes like this: the followers are a human expression of the teachings. Just as one may understand a parent by observing the child, so can we understand Christianity by observing Christians. This is what has kept me from investing any more energy in the religion of my parents. But I do like your approach.

Morgan Drake Eckstein said...

Great post!

Brother Christopher said...

and a Merry Christmas to you as well.

It was because of your (and Balthazar's) post about Jesus that I felt the inclination to get a status of Jesus, (with the sacred heart) and include it with my altar.

ben said...

spectacular. love your perspective!

Ron said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours, Jason.

Frater EH'e, said...

Very well said INO, I find it more than just a little comforting that I can expect this sort of thing from you on a regular basis.

Merry Christmas to you and yours...

And a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

arxacies said...

I stay away from anything Christian related for the same reason I stay away from heroin or opium. For me personally it has a strong addictive gravity with profoundly negative consequences.

I grew up with fundamentalist conservatives and in my "lizard brain" Christianity invariably ends up militant, evangelical, and fanatical when I mess with it at all.

transfiguration said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this. You have encapsulated everything I love about Christianity, and what no one ever seems to discuss except a few enlightened theologians. I haven't been able to call myself Catholic in a very long time, but my heart still longs for theophany.

Jason Miller, said...

Arxacies,

You are definately not alone in this. To folks like you I would simply say that the teachings of Jesus as far as being open to grace, loving God and Neighbors, are things that you can follow without ever thinking of yourself as "Christian" as a Label.

If you look at the Christian religion and say: "too much trouble, too many boneheads, too many bad memories for me to ever identify as a Christian" than don't!

I am convinced that Christ was unconcerned with creating a separate religion. He was concerned with people having a relationship the Ultimate Reality and being transformed thereby. There are many people in the emergent church movement that feel the same.

Robert said...

Jason,

I have noticed that since the birth of your children, your posts, which have never been anti-Christian have become more and more about your particular viewpoint on Christ. Prior to this you've merely mentioned in passing your initiation into a Christian based group.

Do you see a correlation between the birth of your children and a change in your Christian perspective? Have you become a deeper follower of that way or just more comfortable talking about it? I do recall you asking me to downplay that aspect of your work in the past.

Jason Miller, said...

Hi Robert.

Excellent questions and observations. I will be popping out a autobiographical account of my relationship with Christianity at some point in the future, but for now your questions are easy enough to answer.

1. Do you see a correlation between the birth of your children and a change in your Christian perspective?

I wouldn't call it a change in perspective persay as much as a switch in emphasis. That said, yes the birth of my children have a bit to do with it. If you ever meet my mother and sister you will wonder, as other have, "were the hell were you raised, because it doesnt seem like you come from the same family?". As teenager I figured out my mother was completely fucking insane and not someone I should be listening to for guidance. I became pretty involved in the Methodist Church Youth Group, Sunday School, Adult Level Bible Study when i was still 14, and other church activities. These were all immensly helpful to me and I credit the influence of the Christ and the Church for making me who I am today. When I began to be interested in Khabbalah, Magic, Tarot, and Meditation far from persecuting me, my minister gave me some encouragement. When he could see that I was probably going to leave the church and explore other paths, we sat down and he gave me a test that showed the parallels of the essential teachings between Christianity and Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, etc.

Having children makes you assess your own childhood and when I could see what an incredible benefit belonging to a church was for me, I want to have the same for my children. So yes, that is part of the emphasis, but only part.

Eventually, I will introduce Buddhist religion as well, and when they get into their teens they will surely want to explore whatever strikes their fancy. In all things though, the only fealty is to truth itself. All isms are tools.

2. Have you become a deeper follower of that way or just more comfortable talking about it?

There is no questions that in recent years the role Christianity has been playing in my spiritual life has grown. It really started to call me back about 8 years ago when I met Bishop Nemesius, who is a member of our Sodality and a Bishop of the Old Catholic Church. (Note: the Soldality is not Christian. The other three members are Gardnerians).

At first this renewed focus on Christian mysteries took the form of my interest in Gnosticism. If you remember I had a short lived blog called "Archonoclast" that was focused on Gnostic Christianity. One of the things that came out of that blog is the realization that I was drawing much sweeter water from the tradition of mystics and saints who were from the more mainstream branches of Christianity. I still like the odd Gnostic text or slant here and there, but would not describe myself as someone who was overly interested in the classical or neo Gnostic approach to Christianity.

Anyway, my meditations and magic that draws from that well just continues to grow.



3. I do recall you asking me to downplay that aspect of your work in the past.

I don't recall that, but it is entirely possible if you were introducing me to new people. There are some terms that breed instant misunderstanding if you do not have the time to qualify them. I bristle at being introduced as a Thelemite for the same reasons.