December is a special time of the year. It is a time when many of us decorate our homes with brightly coloured lights, cut down trees and carefully adorn them with ornaments, balls and tinsel, send greeting cards to our friends and extended family, and of course, there is the ritual of gift giving.
As a young child, making my list and dreaming of what Santa would bring me on Christmas day occupied my thoughts at this time of year. Later, as an adult, my attention was invested in deciding what to buy for each and every member of my family and network of friends.
My perspective and experience of Christmas has changed dramatically over the years. Gone is the eagerness of waking early and rushing downstairs to see what Santa has brought me. Also gone is the careful purchasing of just the right gift as I rush around on Christmas Eve with all the other last minute shoppers. Now I am more attuned to the messages of peace and joy, and the rekindled desire for good will toward men.
For many around the world, Christmas is the time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, a revered individual born in the Middle East more than 2000 years ago. Followers of the Christian faith will re-create the nativity story with the infant Jesus nestled in a straw manger surrounded by his parents and some shepherds. How I remember ever so carefully arranging the ceramic figures that sat on our television cabinet.
These last few years my experience of Christmas has changed again. Christmas is no longer solely the celebration of the actual giving birth to the individual named Jesus. Rather, Christmas is a time to reflect and acknowledge the birthing of the 'Christ' within me.
As a young adult it was a surprise to learn that the word 'Christ' was not the surname of the individual named Jesus. Rather, the word "Christ" came from the Greek word, Khristós, meaning "the anointed one". 'The Christ' was a title bestowed upon Jesus to acknowledge his high level of consciousness, his wisdom, and his compassion. Christ was a living demonstration of what we are all capable of if we connect with our true Divine natures.
My observation is that most people celebrate the historical figure known as The Christ, and the Christian faith has become a celebration of an individual being rather than a way of being. I wonder how our lives and communities would be different if, rather than encourage reverence and belief in the historical man we call Jesus Christ, we instead strived to attain Christ consciousness, to be Christ-like; to live as the Divine Beings we are.
The challenge as I see it, is that we are so seduced and focused on the outside world that we fail to acknowledge and develop our inside world - the world within. My goal in life is to develop the Christ within me, to strive for and celebrate the birthing of the love and wisdom that allows me to live gracefully, compassionately, and yet powerfully. My deepest desire is to live as Jesus and other highly evolved beings did - with peace, joy, love, respect and compassion for all beings.
It is my wish that the peace and joy we enjoy and celebrate at Christmas were the peace and joy we consciously created, individually and collectively, and that Christmas became an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate our birthing as Christ-like beings.
My deepest blessings to you this Christmas.