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Preparing to Embody Christmas: A Journey through the Threefold Act of Consecration of Man and the Holy Nights

Duccio_di_Buoninsegna_BirthWe come to the Act of Consecration of Man because it holds within it a richness and depth we can work with and be nourished by our whole lives. It is a gift which in itself is full and complete. But then, imagine a gift so precious and great that it cannot be fully given in one Act of Consecration of Man… in the festival of Christmas, something wants to be given to the human being from the spiritual world, a gift that can give us strength for the coming year: the renewed birth of the Child in our hearts.

Beginning Christmas night, we are given the living reenactment of the descent of Christ out of the heavens into our earthly human sphere—for Christ descends anew into our hearts, asking to be born there and thereby born anew on earth. We know it is a poor shed into which we receive Him, but we kindle a light there with our attention and our hope, and He comes!

In the darkest time of the year, just after the turn has been made at the Solstice, the Earth holds her breath before turning again—three days the earth waits before turning towards the sun again, so the days may become longer again. This begins Christmas night, in the moment of the rising of the sun at midnight. In this moment, we gather at the altar—the one time each year—to rise with the sun as it begins to rise. In order to see it, we must learn to look through the earthly to see the sun rising. In days of old, only specially chosen individuals were initiated into this seeing; today we are all invited to practice this every time we gather at the altar. On Christmas night, in the darkest time of the year—we gather in the chapel before the altar by candlelight, and watch for this rising sun. This same light we begin to perceive is the same sunlight which meets us in the realms of sleep. At midnight, we may greet it awake! At this same midnight service we are accompanied by the Word resounding in the Gospels—the very beginning of the Gospels is read, the first chapter in Matthew, in which the entire lineage of Jesus resounds—all forty two generations, following back to the source, the long preparation for the Christ to be born on earth. We also hear in the Epistle, the special prayer for this night, that we have the task to come to KNOW Christ as the bringer of healing to us earthly human beings. We are to come to know God now in an entirely new way than has ever before been possible and necessary in human history. This knowing is a development from the childlike faith, a faith that can develop a fuller knowing and an embodiment of truth.

In the early morning, our soul begins to perceive His drawing near…He, the living Word, begins to move into the very center of our being as human beings who are truly THE word beings of the earthly realm! We are the speakers of the Earth. But we are in need of healing. Our words are not always filled with the true light and love of which we are to be stewards. He touches us in our very center as word beings, renewing our ability to speak, will, express from our highest selves. The Gospel reading that accompanies us now is taken in a sense from the very heart of the Gospels, the Annunciation to the Shepherds in the second chapter of Luke. This story reflects the beating heart of every one of us who stands open before the birth of the Holy Child, full of the heart’s power of devotion and longing to be worthy to serve the highest. We are reminded of our holy task, to know this…He comes to heal us that we may live from our knowing, rather than die by it!

In the full light of day in the late morning—and through the 12 days of Christmas, we meet again before the altar, that we may come to know Christ as the “revealing Creator-Spirit of the Fatherly Ground of the World”. The one who chooses to embody the Earth—and us, if we will but have Him—He offers Himself to embody all that weaves within us and between us—our struggle to find the right path through the extremes which would pull us away from the earth or sink us into it as a prison. He comes to help us create a dynamic living presence within the very heart of each of us. To come to know this must happen not from the outside, but from a centered place within. The conversation between Jesus and Peter in the 21st chapter of John helps us to see that this new kind of knowing has everything in the world to do with love. Love is how we come to truly know, and knowing is how we come to truly love. It is fitting that with this reading, we also hear from the end of the Gospel…and thereby in the Christmas night have heard from beginning to end, through the very heart the Gospel in its entirety.

Lastly, it is the special inserted prayer of Christmas, read during the third service and throughout the twelve days, which gives us a special insight into how we might learn this new kind of knowing. We can learn to see not only the earthly reality but the heavenly reality which can be found through the earthly. The human being begins to be able to join in the great choir of all the hierarchies in the song of offering to the Most High; we begin each Christmas to take our rightful place in the Creation as the tenth hierarchy behind the Angels.

The Christmas Mystery of the Incarnation of the becoming human being is not possible without each of us making ourselves into one who can receive this becoming being. To embody Christmas, we must become like Mary. The Mary of the Annunciation is often shown with a book as the Angel comes to greet her—reflecting that this story is not only about a simple receptivity, but one that seeks to join with knowledge that can become wisdom. To prepare to conceive of and birth the New is a path of the Divine Feminine within each of us.

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