by Michael Maciel
It is the mind’s way of dealing with the soul – to externalize inner experiences as they arise into our awareness. Thus Christmas has become a story about someone else, rather than the story of our own awakening to the Christ within. It’s not that Jesus wasn’t born or that he wasn’t hugely significant in the growth and evolution of souls on this planet; it’s that the entire story is useless unless it also applies to us – each person individually. The Christ must be born in us for the story to have a real effect in our lives.
Fortunately, an intellectual understanding is not necessary to reap the benefits of sacred symbols. Our souls recognize the reality within the Christmas story and is eager to enter into that reality. It is this eagerness that opens us up to the Spirit. Through the spiritual patterns within the story, the groundwork is laid so that we can experience the reality to which the story points. This is how sacred symbols operate. They are the doorway to God, portals through which we can experience God directly. (See Symbols for more on this subject)
The externalization of the Christmas story only serves to separate us from the direct experience of the birth of Christ within us. Mystics know the truth: every story about the life of Jesus Christ is actually a story about how we grow and evolve on the spiritual path. Intellectual understanding need not go any further than this in order for the symbols within the story to deeply affect us and bring us closer to the realization of God. Of course, studying and reflecting upon the deeper meaning of these symbols will speed up the process, but never confuse the understanding with the experience. Neither let the lack of understanding the story prevent you from opening up to it. That’s pride at work, because you’re saying that you are the one who has to do it, not God. Symbols are not magic – they are spiritual tools given to us by God.
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