A Unity Christmas Story from Cheryl Fare, Licensed Unity Teacher
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” God, Spirit, Father Sky, Mother Earth, meaning, expression – many are the names we have for God.
Then God said ‘Let there be light’, and there was light. And God saw the light, and it was good.” This light, this joy of expression started small, like the breath of a tiny sparrow.
But joy knows its purpose is to grow, and grow it did, into stars and suns, comets and moons, and planets like the one we call home. All these are like us, creatures of light. Even the spaces between, that we ponder when we lose our way, are all from Source, and are born of the light.
God’s joy of expression expanded into many forms that we know and love: the earth, warm and solid; the powerful oceans and trickling streams; the cool breeze on a summer day; and the fire to warm our chilly fingers and toes.
And of course, God’s delight in expression brought forth creatures of all kinds: majestic trees and tiny toadstools; creatures sleek and smooth for the waters; nimble and feathered for the skies; and all manner of others to live on the earth; from dinosaurs to humankind – all blessed creatures of light.
Our story today is a human story, one we know very well. When the time came for humans to live on the earth, they spread far and wide, fully enjoying the benefits of their splendid planetary home. They formed colonies and empires, and learned the power of their minds to mold the world around them.
With the light of divine inspiration serving as their guide, the people worked with diligence to create the lives of their dreams. In their moments of rest, they contemplated the essence of their Source, and formed ideals and ethics to guide their actions with each other, and their actions upon the earth.
God sent teachers to all places, and in all languages, so that the Children of Light would remember their Source in all they would do. Many of the tribes of the earth flourished with learning and growth, living in happy communion with their natural world.
However, some others became obsessed with things of their own creation, like wealth and power, and began to forget the ways of Spirit. There came a time that those who remembered and honored their connection with Source were ready for the next step, and those who had forgotten were in need of a reminder.
And so, God sent the angel Gabriel to the earth in search of a woman with a truly pure heart, capable of unconditional love, and the faith to trust in divine order. The angel Gabriel appeared to this young woman, named Mary, and said, “Rejoice, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women!”
The sight of an angel filled Mary with awe and fear, but Gabriel said “Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest.”
At first, Mary was amazed and confused, saying, “How can this be, since I have not known a man?” But Gabriel calmed her fears and drew upon her trust in God by saying “With God nothing is impossible.” That was enough for Mary, whose heart was pure, and open to receive God’s blessing. “Behold the maidservant of the Lord”, she said, “Let it be, according to your word!”
Now at the time of this amazing event, Mary had promised her hand in marriage to a steadfast carpenter by the name of Joseph. She knew that she could trust Joseph to understand the truth in her tale of angels and divine blessings. Joseph was deeply and truly moved, and wed his young bride without delay, and did his very best to care for and protect Mary and the unborn child.
“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. So all went to be registered, every one to his own city.” Joseph took his wife Mary, who was large with child, up from Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was of the house of David.
With many families coming to be counted, the town of Bethlehem was full of activity. When Joseph tried to find a place for his little family to stay, he found that all the rooms were taken. With no room at the inn, Joseph arranged for a clean and simple space in a stable, where his wife could be warm amongst the gentle animals, and a manger could be filled with straw for the baby, who was due to be born very soon.
At the same time, in the hills and fields around Bethlehem, there were shepherds, minding their flocks by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which will be to all the people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will 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 and goodwill for all!’”
So it was, when the angels had gone, that the shepherds saw a star of uncommon brightness over the town of Bethlehem. “The shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in the manger.”
The beautiful baby boy was called Jesus, and the light shone around him, and the light shone through him with great clarity, even as a tiny babe. The animals of the field and stable, the shepherds and common folk of the town, all basked in the glow of Spirit as they witnessed this holy wonder.
Upon finding the words of the angels to be true, the shepherds took it upon themselves to spread the word of the Savior far and wide, to gather the people like lambs from the field, to witness the miracle of God’s gift. They saw how the Christ child did not dwell high on a hill, away from the common people and the animals, but in a manger, to show the noble and humble nature of the one true light.
At the same time, three teachers known for their great wisdom came from the East. They knew from prophecy that a child was to be born a King among men, and they followed the light from the brightest of star in the night sky. The star led them to Bethlehem, where they came upon the scene in the stable, and fell upon their knees, moved by the love and light surrounding the Christ child.
They presented the baby Jesus with priceless gifts: Gold, to show the precious nature of the gifts of Spirit; Frankincense, for purity and grace; and Myrrh to show the eternal nature of the light. The great wise teachers sat amongst the humble animals, and the shepherds of the field, and all were filled with the greatest of joy and gratitude in their hearts.
And so, each year at this time we pause and reflect upon the birth of our brother Jesus, our way-shower, the Christ. We honor the purity of Mary, we admire the noble strength of Joseph, and recognize, in their example, the faith it takes to nurture and manifest the Christ light in our lives.
We celebrate the gentle support of our animal brothers, and strive to have the courage and enthusiasm of the shepherds, and be good stewards for our Spiritual home. Our souls ring out with the brilliant call of the angels, and we are reminded that the beacon of the Christ light is always there to lead our way.
We nurture the wisdom of the ages as passed down to us, and honor all experience with gifts of love and gratitude. And we remember the tiny baby within us all, closer to the light than we can ever recall, as a shining example of our true purpose and potential on this earthly walk.