I don’t think anyone can completely ignore the winter solstice and the mysteries, both dark and warm, that it holds. Seasons change four times each year; yet the winter solstice has long held a special place—both solemn and joyous—in the collective consciousness of mankind. Spiritual celebrations to affirm the light and resist the encroaching darkness were already ancient long before Christians chose it as the most appropriate time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
Angelus Silesius was a 17th-century Christian mystic, poet, priest and physician who is known (I love this) as the Prophet of the Ineffable. Here’s an example of his ineffable mystical poetry from about 1650:
Christ was born a man for me,
for me he died -
Unless I become God
His birth is mocked
His death denied.
Probably his best-known statement (he used it many times) is: “Christ could be born a thousand times in Bethlehem, but all in vain, until he is born in me.” It is this process of spiritual birth—allowing a new spark of light to express through us into the darkest of darkness—that makes this time of year so powerful.
In Truth, it is not the Christ that we are birthing; the Christ is an eternal energy that is never born and can never die. It is the truth of who we are—“God through Him.” No, the solstice-centered birth of Christmas asks us to allow a new dimension of our Christ Self to express through us into the world. Every time we say yes we embrace the darkness; if there were no darkness, how could the new light be appreciated? Every time we say yes we become the entire story—not just the newborn expression of Light, but also the willingness of Mary, the mortal support of Joseph, the awe of lowly shepherds and the wisdom of the three magi who alone, perhaps, understand the larger dimension of Light and Love this birth has the power to create.
It really doesn’t matter what name we give to this deeply-felt time of new possibility. We will always feel called to be the energy of light in the darkness. The mystery of the solstice will still enfold us.
We’ll explore that mystery together this Sunday at 10:00 am at a special Spirit Expressing Solstice Gathering. It will be held, as usual, in the central social room at the Center for Progressive Therapies, 192 Hartford Avenue (opposite Cheney Hall) in Manchester CT. We’ll bring festive treats to share, music to hear and sing, and we’ll also share our personal birthing plans for the new year. It would be lovely to have you join us!