A young woman had come to a Unity community for the first time. It was early in my ministry, and I was speaking that day. Near the beginning of the service, the woman got up and walked out. At the time, I didn’t give it much meaning, but I did take notice. Later, a friend of the woman, who had invited her to the service, let me know what caused her suddenly to leave. She heard me say the word “Christ.” I was told by the friend, the first time visitor was allergic to the word “Christ.” Apparently, the word brought up an avalanche of negative memories from her childhood. She associated the word with religious abuse because she was chastised, condemned, and guilted due to her lifestyle choice. This was all done in the name of “Christ.”
Many people are turned off by the word Christ. For a good portion of my life, I wasn’t too keen on the word either. This was due to my perception that it was used to justify judgement of others who did not adhere to a particular religious belief… theirs. Then I learned that Christ is not a person. Rather, it is the God presence within every one of us.
As quoted above, arguably the most important words in the Bible are in Colossians 1:27 - “Christ in you is your hope of Glory.” If you don’t resonate with Christ, you can substitute the word with other terms to describe the same thing; Atman presence, Universal Mind, the Godhead, the Buddha Mind, or Star War’s version of the word, “The Force.” No matter what we call it, our task is to call it forth so that we make it part of our moment-by-moment experience. The Christ is God's idea of humanity, and includes - among other attributes - peace, love, joy, wholeness, and compassion.
The celebration of Christmas is the acknowledgement and remembrance of the Spirit of God that has been born in our awareness. That spiritual presence is reflected in many different spiritual paths and traditions - Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas, Earth ceremonies, etc. They all help us realize the inherent goodness of humanity and our potential as human and spiritual beings. The Christmas story in particular reminds us that the most important thing we can do is bring God into expression in every aspect of our lives. If we don’t practice the truth that we know, we reduce this truth to a mere belief system. A belief system unapplied is of little value. It turns God into an abstraction that is far off somewhere and does nothing to heal the distresses of the human condition.
There is a line from a traditional Christian song that says, "Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born, if He’s not born in thee, thy soul is still forlorn." An updated interpretation of that line would be, "You can celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem all you want, but if this Christ presence is not expressed in our own life, such celebrations are empty.” The Christ is expressed when it is born in your consciousness and becomes the activity of our awareness and life. This is how we celebrate and honor the birth of the Christ idea by whatever name we choose to call it.
Peace and Blessings,