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A Personal Nativity

People ask me, Now that you're into "new thought" or an updated form of theology, how can you still celebrate a religious holiday like Christmas?

Well, I've maintained that Christianity is a myth, which means that the story it tells is a metaphor. The story is true; it's just not literal history. As a metaphor, it has a valuable message for us. Let's examine the elements of the story for their symbolic meaning.

  • The parents in the story are compelled to make a journey from home, a place of familiarity and comfort, to an alien spot where there is no certainty or security.
  • They carry within themselves a new spiritual being which is not conceived from the physical world.
  • The new life is excluded from the company of the crowd and is consigned to an ignoble spot where it is out of sight.
  • This new being is vulnerable and in need of nurture and love.
  • The angels are aware that something significant has happened.
  • Even nature takes note of this event and marks it by means of a star.
  • People of all classes are attracted to this new birth and what it signifies.

In a way, the story of Jesus birth can be seen as the story of Everyman. Each of us is journeying toward our encounter with the divine. Our conversion to a spiritual worldview begins with a sense of discomfort about our present position, a compelling need to move on, often to a place that is lonely and misunderstood by others. The new being which emerges from within us is not something the world has modeled for us; it comes upon us by the initiative of the Holy Spirit. It may leave us exposed and vulnerable, and it will certainly result in our being turned away from the warmth and light of the institutions where most people live. But in Luke 15:10, Jesus tells of the joy that the angels in heaven experience when one person becomes aware of God's place in his or her life. And the place where we find ourselves at the end of our journey is filled with its own light, and it becomes a beacon to those who are searching for that very light.

The Christmas story speaks to us in very clear terms. Because of the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, that which is born of us will be called a child of God. And it will become a light to the nations. A Blessed Christmas to each one of you.

Posted 12-20-05

Copyright: John W. Sloat 2005