Once again this Christmas message rang out: Peace on Earth…It is a promise made by angelic beings to human beings of good will. And it rang out in Christmas carols, from altars, in bible readings, greeting cards and facebook posts…it clearly lives as one of the deepest longings of the human heart. But after over two thousand years since it was first heard who feels that this has become a reality?
How can this peace come about? Why such darkness that pours out of human beings into our world, into our lives, into our hearts?
We begin to discover the full radical revolution that is Christianity when we look to see where it is that Christians are instructed to find their God, their savior.
In ancient, pre-Christian cultures we were instructed to look up to the Sun in all its glory, in its radiance, in its living warmth bestowing life and to see an image of its God. In Christianity we are led to a little manger in which we find a vulnerable newborn babe. In ancient times our inner gaze was directed to the great and mighty deity that created the stars and the sky, the rivers and oceans, and all things that grow and move across the whole earth. We were led to the creator of the universe. Christ gathers his disciples and says to them in Matthew’s Gospel, “when I was thirsty you gave me to drink, when I was naked you clothed me, when I was in prison, you visited me – whatever you did for the least of these you did for me”. He teaches his students: if you seek me, if you seek the divine creative power, look into the heart of any human being, I am there. Learn to approach each other as you would approach a temple and know that in every human heart lives the Holy of Holies in which the divine spark makes its home. If you seek me you will find me in the heart of every human being you meet.
Those who are Christians are led to the world-changing insight that the divine creator spirit of the cosmos, the living spark of divinity – of love itself – has entered humanity. And every true Christian expresses their Christianity in the way they approach another human beings – not in any focus on converting anyone but instead on approaching each person with the consciousness of the mystery of “Christ in You.”
How would our world look if this was the consciousness that prevailed? How would human relations be if we each held that Christ, the divine creator spirit, lives in every human heart?
This is the hope of peace. This is the purpose of our celebrating Christmas, of celebrating the monumental turning point in cosmic evolution when the divine left its cosmic throne and took up its seat in the human heart – that we ignite the light of awareness in the darkness of our minds that every human being is sacred. Every human heart is a sanctuary. Peace on earth begins, Good Will pours into us, when we fill our consciousness with this insight when we let our mood of soul be filled with the awareness that every human encounter is a divine encounter, and every human meeting becomes a chance to be a shepherd approaching the manger, a chance to look into the eyes of another and perceive the light of God shining out of them.
The photos is of an older Gambian woman wearing a Hijab taken in January, 2008 by Ferdinand Reus.