Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Nativity

The birth of Christ is routinely dismissed nowadays as a fable, a religious myth of interest only to school children for their nativity plays or believers who really should know better than to give credit to such an obvious fairy story. It’s a pretty tale but clearly made up, or so runs contemporary opinion. Now I am not a member of any particular branch of the Christian religion, but there is no doubt in my mind that the Nativity was one of the most important events in the history of humanity. Certainly, in terms of its impact on the human race, the life of Christ is the most significant life ever lived.

Here, though, I am interested in the story of his birth, and while I do concede that this may well contain elements of myth I maintain that it is a true myth, which is to say it has symbolical truth but there is literal truth as well. All I have to substantiate this claim is intuition, or faith as it might once have been called, but it is deeply felt and I have been told to trust it. Intuition, if genuinely sensed and devoid of what is personally desired, can be mistaken as regard to particulars but is usually right insofar as the substance is concerned. It may be countered that I just want the story of Christ to be true, but I don’t especially. Spiritual truth would remain whether it were or not. But I am convinced that the birth of Christ was the greatest breakthrough from the spiritual realm into this one there has ever been. It was the irruption of light from the higher world into the darkness of this physical world, and that light illuminated everything it touched. Nothing was the same thereafter.

The birth of a divine child was a common component of ancient myths, and that fact is often taken as a valid reason to dismiss the story of Christ's coming into this world. It's just one more version of the same old thing, updated for the propaganda purposes of a new cult. But what if the old tales were fictional expressions of an archetypal truth that attained full reality with the birth of Jesus? What if two thousand years ago the myths became fact and the previsions truth? Does this mean that I believe Jesus Christ to have been the incarnation of God the Creator, born of a virgin? Not so fast! As I said I think there is a blending of the symbolic and the real in this story. I think a divine principle, unknown in this world before, was incarnated in the person of Jesus and came into full expression in his lifetime. I think people attempted to describe the significance of this principle in their own way, and that the symbolic and true elements are intertwined so much it is almost impossible to disentangle them. I also believe that there is no pressing need to do so for the message does not depend on whether Christ actually was God but on whether he spoke with the voice of God. And of that, for anyone whose spiritual antennae are properly functioning, there can be no doubt.

Children instinctively recognise the magic of the Christmas story. All the elements are there. The pure white star shining in the heavens in the darkness of a winter's night. The dignity and humility of the weary travelers forced to take refuge in a stable. The great (kings) and the lowly (shepherds), representing the whole spectrum of humanity and showing that here is a message for everyone. Even angels and animals! And, as the focus of it all, the new born child who is the light of the world and who comes to save us from death. He is the still centre around which everything else revolves. 

To my mind one of the most interesting aspects of the story is the presence of the kings or wise men. They are both worldly rulers and priestly representatives of the pagan religions of the past, and they symbolise at once how matter and the earthly powers should act towards spirit and how spiritual knowledge which is purely human is superseded in the face of the divine. The magi come to pay homage to the child, at whose feet they kneel and who sums up and goes beyond everything they know. There is a lesson in that for all the psychics, occultists and teachers of spiritual enlightenment, should they choose to receive it. In effect, the kings renounce their power, temporal and spiritual, before Christ just as, later on, John the Baptist did and just as, when the time comes, we must too. But note that the renunciation of power comes from those who have it. There is significance to that fact too.

Christ speaks to the heart which is why the intellectually focused and those who pride themselves on their 'rationality' (a word often used as a cover for a temperamental disinclination to believe what is not susceptible to proof on the mind's own terms) cannot hear him. He does not ask us to dismiss the mind or neglect to cultivate its powers (surely God requires us to develop all aspects of our nature), but to recognise its limitations and acknowledge that truth, spiritual truth, lies beyond the mind in its rational or intellectual modes.

So the birth of Christ into this world is a true myth. It really happened, but each part of the story has spiritual symbolism to it as well. Each part is worthy of study and each part can have an application to our own lives. It seems too good to be true because we are bowed down by our own unrighteousness (if you will forgive the use of such an old-fashioned word), and dare not hope that that there is something so good, so pure, so holy in the universe that all tears can be wiped away and all burdens lifted. But there is and all we are asked to do is accept that it is so.

I had hoped to post something on this subject on Christmas day but I was away from computers for a couple of weeks, and holiday idleness prevented me from putting any sort of pen to paper until now. However tomorrow is Epiphany which is almost as appropriate for a post on this topic, and besides this is a subject which is always relevant.


Paul Hillman said...

Good that you are back after a well deserved rest with a timely piece, William. A small distance from the holiday season and with the new year celebrations out of the way is probably the best time to reflect on this matter. Thank you for this and for all of your good sense and spiritual gems throughout the year.
I look forward to and enjoy every one of them. They have depth and breadth and consistency, difficult to find elsewhere. Keep up the very important work. You provide real light in the dark sea of pointless musings which the internet often seems to represent.

William Wildblood said...

Thank you for your kind words, Paul. I very much appreciate the encouragement you have given me on this blog. Your feedback is always most welcome and, as I have said before, adds a lot to the posts.

Ed Kelly said...

WIlliam, you seem to saying here that there is something special and unique about the story of an event in time about a person called Jesus. Does not this story speak or point to what we all are as pure consciousness (the Christ) which is timeless, ever-present? The fable of Jesus may transmit something true but certainly not as an historical event, because as you state this story is a story that has found expression throughout history in many cultures and traditions. Why point to the Jesus story particularly and more importantly why think of this as a special event in history rather than seeing that the Christ or pure consciousness is our ever-present reality? Why set up a special somebody called Christ or Jesus, when the Christ is the I am that we all are, the I am before Abraham was? How could there be more than one infinite eternal consciousness?

William Wildblood said...

Hello Ed, and, first of all, thanks for commenting. Regarding your comment, I do think there was something special about Jesus because, as I see it, the life of Christ is where the lines of myth and historical fact intersect. It’s where the esoteric becomes public, and salvation/liberation becomes open to everybody not just a spiritual elite as before. I also believe that he really did rise from the dead, and that fact alone makes it a special event in history since, as far as I know, nobody else has done that. Not yet anyway! I also think that Jesus grounded an aspect of divine consciousness that had not been manifested in this world before, certainly not in such a revelationary way. That’s the idea that God is love. I know this idea was not new but I think it was revealed in Jesus in a new and higher form.

But, of course, you’re right that Jesus serves as an example of man made perfect, completely at one with the source. It’s just that I consider him to be more than that, though I wouldn’t call him unique except in the way that we all, as individualisations of the divine, are.

More than one infinite eternal consciousness? I do hope not. That would be confusing! But we cannot all access this consciousness to the same degree.

The book of which this blog is an extension is a record of some teaching I was given by discarnate spiritual masters (for want of a better expression). They were all what we would call realised beings but they spoke of beings higher than themselves in the spiritual hierarchy. I’m not saying there are degrees of enlightenment, but we can’t imagine that any human can fully penetrate the Mind of God which, after all, is infinite and eternal.

I don’t know if this has answered any of the points you raise but I’m happy to have another go if it hasn’t. You may just disagree!