Given In The Temple, by Eleanor L. Shumway, Guardian in Chief, December 8, 2013
There is an increasing body of research among Biblical scholars that suggest that the story of the birth of Jesus is not accurate. It is clear the Gospels contradict each other. HPB was very specific about the discrepancies in her works. We usually neglect to read these stories in the light of the times in which they took place, forgetting such stories were crafted to fit the needs of those times. Does this mean we should abandon 2000 years of traditions, along with the myths and stories of this miraculous birth? Or can we accept that such myths and stories have power far beyond cold facts. With our inner knowing we realize that Truth, spiritual truth, is much deeper and stronger than the facts in history books.
One scholar, the Rev. Ed Townley, senior minister at Unity of Greater Hartford, Connecticut, said, “It’s not even remotely possible that (these Gospels) were historically accurate. No one was there at Jesus’s birth.” Having said that, and acknowledging that the Gospels contradict one another about the events of that time, Rev. Townley goes on to say that the Nativity story . .”is storytelling and mythology. These are after-the-fact attempts to communicate the story. They are spiritually accurate.”
Another writer asks, “What is more valuable, spiritual truth or factual truth? Both have their place, but stories help shape the world of our souls. We are affected by them, uplifted, inspired and changed.” I would ask if it is important to us if every word of the Nativity is a dispassionate fact? Is it not more important to ask ourselves how the Nativity story actually lives inside of us today, and how it shows us the ways in which to live to our potential? That potential is the Christ within each of us.
The Christmas baby, Jesus, who, 2000 years ago, was the vehicle of the Christ, the manifestation of the Avatar. From the mundane to the cosmic, when it is time for this Force to manifest the need is great. On inner planes the coming of the Avatar is an answer to the anguished plea from the very soul of humanity for a reconnection with The Christly principle, the perfected man and Master who is God (Love) in action.
From the depths of our anguish we plead for help. Often we are answered directly. But then we begin to examine the answer with our lower minds. We rearrange the answer to fit the circumstances of our physical lives and convenience. Then we doubt and finally reject the answer because it was not in the terms we wanted. So we wait until our need is even greater and we call again, and begin the cycle anew. We are now at a time and place in the evolution of consciousness where we are being forced to take the next step. The Avataric Force is heavily impinging on humanity and the earth, demanding that we take the next step of putting Love into action now, every day in every way, not just when convenient.
We have called this Force many names over the eons of time we have spent here on Earth: Lord, Christ, Buddha, Osiris, God, Jehovah, Master, Krishna, Great Spirit, All That Is, to name only a few. We recognize It, we call upon It, we turn and use what we think It is for our own ends, building up or tearing down each other individually or collectively. But we cannot avoid It. Now we must prepare a place in our hearts for the rebirth of The Christ, which is Love in action.
We must deeply examine the elements in our own consciousness that will help us to birth the Avatar in our own hearts. Master KH tells us, “Remember what I say now to you, that your power to recognize the coming Avatar, your right to His recognition of you rest on your power of interior vision first, and secondarily on your proven desire for such recognition, proven in the only way desire can become effectual, i.e., by action. What recognition, what interest, what love could you give to a father in the flesh if he suddenly appeared to you for the first time in later life and there were no points of mutual interest, no common experiences between you. The mere form and face would mean no more to you interiorly than would the form and face of any other individual. The form of his appearing, whether it were in daylight and with blare of trumpets and great glory or in the darkness and stillness of night, would make no difference to you as far as true recognition is concerned.
“You will never recognize the coming Christ or meet with such recognition as you desire unless you have done your part toward building up the necessary mutual interests and memories, by obedience to His demands, thereby preparing a matrix within which the Ideal Christ may first take form and become visible to you.
“If you are questioning the possibility, yet desiring the reappearance of the last great Avatar, give your own self, your Soul, as well as that Great One, an opportunity of proving not only the possibility but the certainty, by preparing a place in your heart for Him first, and then making what outer preparations are needful, as you have been directed.
“Do not dry up the springs of life in yourself by doubt, or starve your Soul by denial, and so kill out the divine Ideal now back in your consciousness which is the basic source of your realization. Be very sure that the Power that has built up and sustained this universe has never left Itself without witnesses. Find those witnesses if it cost a life. There is no lasting peace, happiness or divine usefulness for you until you do find them and lead others to the Source of the same.”
Now is the season to focus on this reappearance of the Avatar. Such focus and reappearance must be expressed through our lives. The giving of gifts for Christmas is not what is needed for such focus, although they are a symbol of our spirit reaching out to others, to those “witnesses” that KH speaks of. The simple act of acknowledging the symbol for what it is, for blessing it and sending it on its way with love will contribute to the great pool of positive Force and Light that we must fill. Our focus must include the inner meaning of Christmas, the true celebration of the birth of Christ.
This simple story is told in St. Luke, chapter 2:
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. This taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. And all went to be taxed every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. Then this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
This simple story not only recounts the events of that birth 2000 years ago, but details the process of the birth of the Avatar in the consciousness of each of us. The Master has told us that the New Testament holds in its pages all the knowledge of the universe. It synthesizes all the diffuse philosophical literature of the ages; we cannot study it too much.
As we ponder the beauty of these simple words from Luke, what are the correlations we might draw between our inner real experiences and the story of the birth of Jesus? And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. This taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. And all went to be taxed every one into his own city. We have been issued a command from our Emperor, our Higher Self, to render unto that Self the things, the qualities that belong to It. The part of our lives that must go to the upkeep, as it were, of the Universe in which we move and have our being. We need to return in consciousness, in the innermost recesses of our hearts, to the land, or place, from which we came. It is only in our true Home Place that we can deliver that which is due.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. Each of us is Joseph on the journey to the place of our family, our true home. Each of us is also Mary, great with the child of new beginnings, of the inner birthing of the Avatar, the Light of God, in our consciousness.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. The time has come for the birth of the Avatar in each and every heart. It will come in the quiet hours of the night, We have spent ages beyond comprehension in preparation for this step in the evolution of our consciousness. That Avatar is to be found where we least expect it, in simple surroundings, with the nurturing of simple, age old acts, the total acceptance of the unconditional love of the natural part of our natures. and without the fanfare and confusion of luxurious surroundings, or sumptuous appointments.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. We are charged with the responsibility of being a wise and careful shepherd of our flock of aspirations, ideals, and dreams within our selves. We must guard them carefully from the threats that steal through the darkness to attack when our guard is relaxed.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. Then this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. In our darkest moments there always will come to us the Light of God if we are attentive. We don’t always recognize it for what it is, indeed when approached by this Angelic force, we are often afraid; however, if we listen we find this Radiance brings us news of the power that is within us. If we pay attention to the new entity that lies within, wrapped in the protection of love, we will find our own Savior, the Christ within. To find Him we must pay attention to the simple details.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men. The Mt. Top message “The Inner Christmas Light” illuminates this passage as we are asked, “Have you, any of you, held watch long enough to hear the divine chorus? Have you caught and joined in the refrain? Can you chant the strain alone within yourselves? Christ grant there may be one or two, a few of you who may sound its echo with such purity of tone that the world may stop to listen, feel, and hear.” We are told to hold the watch, to hear the heavenly chorus echoing down the ages, telling us of the Heavenly Secret of simple love, brotherhood and awe that is the key to the door that stands between us and our spiritual homecoming. We need only to listen to the refrain and learn to sing it ourselves. The expression of thanksgiving in songs of glorious praise through our lives is our own responsibility no matter what our circumstances. It can and must take place every day, all day long, in every thought, word, and deed.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. Once we hear and feel the announcement of the Holy Spirit in our lives, it is our responsibility to go to the place within ourselves which we are told about and to experience the miracle each in our own way. This miracle is both natural and spiritual, sacred unto that inner Christly Light essential to the permeability of life in form, inherently holy.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. As we go within to the place of holy birth within the shelter of our hearts, we find the radiance of Love, of the heart of compassion. We find the strength and the radiance of the holy Trinity expressed by Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. When we have seen, and truly know this Light, then our responsibility is to share it with all. Others will wonder at our experiences, ask questions and perhaps begin their own unique path of discovery, and share the Light they experience.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. Each of us are an expression of Mary, that feminine, nurturing, protecting aspect of our consciousness, our inner selves. We need to keep our growing awareness safe within our hearts, to think over the meaning of the new treasures, to find ways to express them. These treasures are as basic as hope and dignity, necessity and faith, love and acceptance. The song is there for us to sing. Our responsibility is the same as the shepherds of yore, that of glorifying and praising God for all that we have heard and seen, all that we have learned. The force of gratitude is mighty in its power, setting up a radiant circle of Light.
A simple story of the simple birth of the Avatar, the Christ, within our hearts. The paradox occurs in the bringing of this simplicity into the complexity of the physical plane of our current experience. “The Inner Christmas Light” speaks of that complexity at this time of year in these words: “Christmas! Ah, what is Christmas? The mad dash of life for display, glitter, show; the wild dance for pleasure, excitement, change; the fever of ambition for exchange of outer gifts, each to exceed the other in value; or is it feasting, merry-making, gaming? You who have looked long and insistently for Christmas, hold a moment, will you, can you, and ask yourselves, ‘Is this Christmas? What is Christmas? Am I celebrating Christmas the event in reality and truth?”
The way to find and celebrate Christmas is not to ignore it, to call it a commercial event unworthy of attention, to hearken to other celebrations of this time of the solar year; but rather to find new meaning in the richness of the life experiences of the myriad lives of people like you and me who have lived with joy and aspiration since the birth of Jesus some 2000 years ago. These life experiences have been handed on to us in the forms of customs, ceremonies, songs, ideals, rituals, dreams, sacrifices, and deep feelings. It is up to us to expand the very core of our beings so that the sum total of all who have gone before us can have meaningful expression through our lives.
How do we do this? Each of us will work out the specific details in our own unique way. In general the way includes such simple, genuine, daily acts as gratitude, kindliness, courtesy, love, hope extended, honor, empathy, compassion, and helpfulness. Through these acts we become more in tune with the inner voice that sings the song of the Avatar with our hearts, that we may sing it in our lives.
This is the opportunity to learn to surrender everything within us to faith that the Law will work for the greater good of all. This does not mean we must give away all we have of material goods. It is a statement of the need to refocus our lives in order that we each become a beacon of light representing soaring faith, passionate gratitude, and a deep connect with every aspect of life. This light helps all humanity. With it we help each other, and in so doing, we help ourselves as we strive to answer and express the inner call. We can step aside from the roar of commercialism and create a place of calm and balance that ripples out like the ripples on the calm surface of the water when broken by the smooth stone of Love.
This is the true impact of the birth of Jesus in our lives today. It is the correlation of the advent of the Avatar in our lives, and in our hearts. It is the carrying out of His message of Love. This message is still as immediate as if He were born this morning. It will continue to sound the rallying cry in our hearts and lives. Let us try to express in every action throughout this holy season, and throughout the New Years to come, the truths we learn from this simple story.
John Varian expressed the beauty, the magnificent simplicity of this advent of the Avatar in our body, mind and spirit in these words:
The Avataric Coming
Love is a white light of beauty.
It is clothing upon the souls.
It is constantly building friendship.
It is shining deeper and deeper understanding, comradeship.
The Avataric conception is upon us.
It is above us, glory in the heavens;
It is beneath us, embryonic powers;
It is about us, beauty of perception;
It is within us, growth, wisdom’s growth.
Out over the universe its marvels spread vastnesses,
Wings of beauty upon each one.
In through creation it impels love, ever increasing love.
Over the earth it is flowering wisdom, fructifying that seed.
Within the hearts of man it is the blessing of true love, high growth, faithfulness.
Guardian in Chief