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December 2010
Finding the Light Within
Just Breathe and Know your True Self

candles Despite all our talk about making this holiday season meaningful, admit it- we all get into a bit of a frenzy this time of year.  And we may wonder amidst that frenzy why are we doing all of this? Why do we uphold these myths of a magical gift giving Santa, of a baby born to a virgin come to spread God's love, of talking snowmen, and flying reindeer? Why do we crowd our houses and lives with the symbols of these myths? Why do we fall into the consumer trap over and over again? There are no answers that fit everyone, but there are ways to look deeper than the myth, to simplify, to let go.  Standing in line at the post office, or while you wait to board your plane, or as you gather with loved ones- close your eyes and breathe. Look within.  Remember that beneath this human layer, there exists this real you.  Turn off the lights and think about the days when there was no electricity, light some candles, hum a tune, gather in circles, hold hands, give gifts of meaning, and know that you are never alone.  The myths? They are fun and special. The reality? You are on a soul journey, going deeper and deeper within.

Through Frozen Nights, We Wait

blue forest

A Blue Christmas Service

 By: Gretta Vosper
President of The Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity

The service can be led by one person but is richer with a diversity of voices. In some places, options for Reader 1 and Reader 2 are marked to suggest a particular flow.  Leaders are urged to work out who is responsible for what and use the options provided only as guidelines.

The space is prepared for the service with an easily accessible table, cloaked in dark cloth, with baskets of tea lights set upon smaller tables or stands at each end. The table may be decorated with a sprinkling of silvery or translucent glitter or cut out stars. Silver-covered boxes of various heights might offer different places for people to set tea lights and offer visual interest.

Emmanuel -

God with us.

Our understanding of god
lives in us as a projection of our highest ideals
and our commitment to live by them. 
We challenge ourselves
to make those ideals be boldly present with us tonight
because we find ourselves caught in a web of our own desires
and the cultural expectations that surround us. 
May that which we once projected-

pure, unsullied by our baser needs and wants-

may it come once again and to our hearts
that we might remember
who we are
and who we seek to be.

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A Christmas Service

By: Rev. Vicky Elder, Unity of Monterey Bay

4th Sunday of Advent...Christmas Service

Today, as we embrace the JOY of Christmas, which is just around the corner, we remember that this sacred Christmas story is just one of many ways that God has come into the world to remind humanity that we are, in truth, spiritual beings, having a human adventure. 

Together we embrace the God of each of our understanding...One God, perceived in many names and faces, One God, embraced through many spiritual paths, One God, expressing always as love... 

baby in bellyA Magical Christmas
By: Fred Plumer, President

I wonder as we approach this Christmas "holy day," if we have lost our ability as a society to look for, to wait for, to anticipate those magical moments in life. Can we actually experience the birth of a loved child, or a grandchild and not believe in something greater than what we can see, measure or understand?  Or can we really sit on a beach and watch the sun slowly sinking into the water and not wonder how we got so lucky to be part of this beautiful and unique planet.  Are all of the fairies under the damp leaves gone for our children, lost, never to be found because we haven't taken the time to look for them?  Are there no more hippopotamus in the suburbs or have we just stopped "seeing" them?

bethlehem star The Christmas Myth is the Story of the Human Family
By: Tom Harpur

A vast segment of humanity has been telling itself this same story of a baby born in a manger in Bethlehem for many centuries now; peace and goodwill towards all the clan of Homo sapiens. But nothing has changed. Bethlehem itself has become synonymous with violence. Just now, as the Christmas fervor is being driven towards its annual climax, once-Christian nations are waging war against other countries.  What is the deeper story that has somehow been twisted wholly out of shape and so layered over with trite or fraudulent wrappings that the real gift is rarely ever envisioned let alone observed and gratefully received? Is there, was there ever, some precious thing of matchless beauty, power and grace at the very heart of Christmas- something with flaming potency to transform our lives, our world?

Mary, mother of Jesus Exposing Christmas Myths
By:Jason Boyett


Exposing tardy Wise Men, superbabies and other seasonal inaccuracies.

Christmas. It's all about the good times: family and friends, candlelight services, stockings, mistletoe, rampant misinformation. Few holidays are more tangled up in folktales, urban legends and outright unbiblical ideas than the one celebrating our Savior's birth. Not that we talk about it all that much. Disputing the time-honored verses of Christmas carols or exposing the errors of the children's living nativity scene is a good way to get a Yule log to the head. It's practically Scroogetastic. Nevertheless, here are a few things you may not have known about your favorite Christian holiday.

Three Wise Men didn't appear at Christ's birth...

Three wise men "Myths Surrounding Jesus' Birth;" a Progressive Christian Interpretation
By: R.C. Symes

During the celebration of Christmas, familiar images are recalled in hymns and scripture about the birth of Jesus. In the popular mind, the appearance of herald angels, shepherds abiding in the fields, the star of Bethlehem, the virgin Mary giving birth in a stable, and the adoration of the Magi, have all been melded into one Christmas story. In reality, there are in the gospels, two distinct and at times contradictory stories of Jesus' birth. A careful reading of the Bible itself reveals that so much about this celebrated birth is myth.

Dating December 25 as the birthday of Jesus, is known to have gained popularity only by the mid-fourth century in order that Christians could have an alternative to a popular pagan festival at this time of year. December 25 was the winter solstice according to the old Julian calendar, and it was on that day that Mithraism, a chief rival to Christianity, celebrated the birth of the god, Mithra. It is unlikely that we shall ever know exactly when Jesus was born (scholars estimate sometime between 12 and 4 B.C.) or the real circumstances surrounding his nativity. We can, however, attempt to separate historical fact from literary fiction.

campfire Shimmers of Love
By: Rev. Chuck Queen
Adapted from his book,
Shimmers of Light: Spiritual Reflections for the Christmas Season

Willa Cather's Christmas story, "The Burglar's Christmas," portrays a young man named William, who had moved away from his family back east and was now in Chicago. Impoverished, he breaks into a house on Christmas Eve to steal some food. He discovers that he has burglarized the house of his parents who had moved to Chicago. His mother catches him while stealing, and he confesses everything. In so many words she begs him to stay, "Tonight you have come back to me, just as you always did after you ran away to swim in the river that was forbidden you, the river you loved because it was forbidden...I never asked you where you had been then, nor will I now. You have come back to me, that's all in all to me."

He looks up at her questioningly and says, "I wonder if you know how much you pardon?" She responds, "O, my poor boy, much or little, what does it matter? Have you wandered so far and paid such a bitter price for knowledge and not yet learned that love has nothing to do with pardon or forgiveness, that it only loves, and loves-and loves?"

beyond the universe A Creed for Christmas
By: Jim Burklo

God is Love, the cosmic creativity present everywhere and in everything,
Gently urging all toward the good.
To Love we raise our awestruck praise!
Light and Love to You and Yours this Holiday Season!
Thank you for joining us on this magical spiritual journey!  As we travel closer and closer to our true selves, may we always remember that we are spiritual beings living a human life.  A life that provides us in each moment opportunities to grow, evolve, and spread light and love.

There is still time to make your end of the year donation to help us with our mission of creating a spiritual network of progressive Christians around the world and providing the resources for the journey.

Have a meaningful Christmas!

Fred Plumer
Spiritual Networking for an Evolving Faith