The Mystical Meaning of Christmas

16 thoughts on “The Mystical Meaning of Christmas”

    1. Thank you. I perceive that the kingdom of God is all around us in every moment. It is the truth of reality. We just aren’t aware of it. Our perception is blinded. Our consciousness is obscured by ego. We are already in the kingdom, the Beauty of God’s Glory surrounds us everywhere in everything, and is even in us, but most of us just can’t see it. We’re not aware of it. If we don’t become aware of this reality during our life, consciously enter into that awareness, then we just haven’t become aware of it, and we’ve missed that opportunity to unite with it and to have that joy of living a pure awakened life. But life arises again. I think Reality calls to us to know it, to see it, to unite with it, to become aware of the reality of our own being, what we really are, and then to live and love from that at-one awareness and union with all of Reality.

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  1. Bryce, I thought that maybe I was done posting here–at least for a while. But I must say, reading this post has saddened me deeply. There’s so much I wish I could say–but I dare not. It’s too sacred.

    I think what saddens me most is that your view is based upon a premise that, IMO, stands against just about every doctrine, prophecy, and pronouncement in the LDS standard works regarding who (and what!) the Holy One of Israel is.

    Remember this from 2 Nephi:

    29 And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.

    This is not about merely arriving at a sense of our true selves. This is about humbling ourselves before Him who is the greatest of all of God’s Lights–KLB. The One who stands nearest to God’s throne. Remember that all things were created:

    –By Him,

    –Through Him, and

    –Of Him.

    Notice the obvious implication of various agencies working with Him; those who are below Him; those who are above Him; and He, Himself!

    The mystery of Godliness how great it is–and part of that mystery is that Christ is, in His most fundamental manifestation, an individual; a Man; indeed, the Son of Man. And, of course, it goes without saying that we mortals lack the power to comprehend Him in His fullest manifestation where He is garbed in layers of unimaginable glory. But it is His individuality that makes His condescension so utterly miraculous and His suffering so utterly selfless. Without the reality of Christ’s ability to act as an independent agent; out of pure love for others; His sacrifice loses it’s poignancy and therefore it’s power to draw us unto Him.

    As the Lord of Hosts He asks us to join with Him through covenant that He may embrace us as a unified whole; as Israel, His sacred bride. And, as your God and my God, he seeks to embrace each one of us with arms that are as tangible as yours and mine.

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    1. Jack, thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that this post has saddened you. It fills me with immeasurable Joy to know that Jesus did not merely reveal the divinity within his own self, but the divinity within all of humanity, each and every one, from the greatest to the least of these. It saddens me when institutions corrupt that message and turn Jesus into an idol.

      In my view, if this premise stands against every doctrine, prophecy, and pronouncement in LDS scripture, then it is because we have severely misinterpreted our own scriptures.

      Let’s take that scripture from 2 Nephi, for instance. Yes, Christ is the Holy One of Israel, because Christ is the living foundation of all people and of all Life, the most precious and pure reality of our incarnation as animate Life. Jacob realized this perfect ground of his living being in a great trial, a struggle, sometimes called a wrestle with an angel/God. I think that battle was with his own ego, and when that ego fell he perceived his true Being, and noted that he had seen God face to face. He realized his true identity, and was given a new name because of it, Israel, meaning one who “struggles with God,” or “triumphs with God,” or perhaps “God struggles,” “God triumphs.” That Holy One lives within each and every one of us as well, and is the Pure Light of our being. And we must struggle to come to know that too, humble our egos to the depths before it, even surrender our egos entirely to it, if we wish to know it, see it face to face, and do its will. I wrote about this some before: https://thymindoman.com/2017/11/24/david-o-mckay-meditate-to-enter-gods-presence/

      Yes, all things are made up of Christ, by this Light, through this Light, and of this Light. Even you and I are made of this Light, and yet we are blind to it most of the time. We see through this glass darkly so even our own Light is hidden.

      In my understanding, I don’t believe that Christ, in its most fundamental manifestation (if there is such a thing), is a human individual. Even Joseph revealed that Christ is far more than a bodily human (D&C 88:6-13). But yes, Christ may manifest through humanity, as it did through Jesus, and as it may through us. I think it manifested through Gautama as the Buddha, and has manifested to many others who have given many other names to it throughout history including Krishna, Atman, Messiah, I AM, Yahweh/Jehovah, Lord, Adonai, or simply the Transcendent, Eternal Law, Love, or Being. That Glory that transcends comprehension exists within the Life of all beings. It is what gives Life. What makes Christ miraculous is not his localization in a single being somewhere else in the cosmos, but being in and throughout the Whole of the entire cosmos, even all things that are or have ever been.

      I perceive that Christ’s suffering is selfless because Christ doesn’t suffer for Christ, ever. Christ suffers for our whole being, including our egos as they suffer in their delusions (the condescension), until those egos fall away, and we realize our at-one-ment with our true being, even Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). There is no egoic self in Christ. Christ is the absence of an egoic self, which is what makes it Pure, Holy, Complete, Whole, Sacred, Perfect, Stainless, Radiant, Divine, and Love itself.

      I believe that Christ does not want us to enter into a covenant, like a contract, as in the Law of Moses. Rather *we* are that covenant, the New Covenant, and when we at-one God is writing it directly on our minds and hearts (Hebrews 8, 10). God embraces us when we realize that we are One with God, even in Christ, just as Jesus so realized, and prayed that we would realize too (John 17). Jesus realized the name by which he was called, which was his true identity, and it is the same name by which we too are called, each and every one.

      “Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.” (Alma 5:38)

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      1. Bryce, I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my comments even though some of what I say surely comes across a little harsh.

        “In my view, if this premise stands against every doctrine, prophecy, and pronouncement in LDS scripture, then it is because we have severely misinterpreted our own scriptures.”

        My description of the underlying premise to your argument serves as a good example of my harshness–sorry. And, if I’m wrong, I’ll be more than willing to take the blame *personally* for misinterpreting the scriptures.

        “Yes, Christ is the Holy One of Israel, because Christ is the living foundation of all people and of all Life, the most precious and pure reality of our incarnation as animate Life.”

        I agree with this so far as it goes–as per Section 88. However, even though the Savior may be the animating force in all of Creation, it doesn’t necessarily follow the He is the author of our primal intelligence–which I believe is self-existent.

        “That Holy One lives within each and every one of us as well, and is the Pure Light of our being.”

        I believe that he sustains the just and the unjust in the way that he sustains all life. But He will not dwell with us unless we are living in a way that invites Him–and, even then, the Spirit may descend upon us and not necessarily tarry with us.

        “What makes Christ miraculous is not his localization in a single being somewhere else in the cosmos, but being in and throughout the Whole of the entire cosmos…”

        IMO, the beauty of His condescension is that, as a unique individual with a will that is uniquely His own, He suffered Himself to walk with His brethren on this dusty little planet and endure every privation–in spite of His exalted station.

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      2. Thank you for your comment, Jack. We can all be harsh at times. I think this may be part of being human. Even Jesus was quite harsh at times.

        I believe that Christ is also the source of our “primal intelligence,” because this intelligence is “light and truth,” both of which are of God. They are eternal with God. Christ *is* this Light and Truth that flows through us and all of creation (D&C 93:9, 29, 36; D&C 88:6, 11; D&C 84:45-46; John 8:12; Matthew 5:14; John 14:6).

        It is self-existent because it *is* God, not because it is separate from God, or created from God, in my view. God cannot create God. It does not exist independently from God. Why do we want to continue to separate ourselves from God? The purpose of the gospel is to realize our at-one-ment with God in God. That can never happen if we desire to remain separate from God, and exist independently from God. It is precisely that separation that we are trying to overcome, to become reconciled once more to our oneness in God, even as Jesus did (John 17).

        God always dwells in us, for we are the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16). I don’t perceive that this is a temporary or occasional dwelling. If God ever ceased to dwell in us, then we would cease to be. For in God we live, and move, and have our very being (Acts 17:28). However, I do agree that there are many things we can do that will blind us to this truth, such that we cannot perceive this indwelling Presence of God. That is when it *appears* that God is not dwelling in us, when the Spirit does not *appear* to tarry with us. It is a matter of *our* perception and state of consciousness, imo. But God never leaves us, no matter what we do, ever (Romans 8:35-39).

        I perceive that Jesus’ own unique will was given up in the at-one-ment, which is what revealed the Christ in him (Luke 22:42). We must also surrender and subdue that egoic will, and all the thoughts, concepts, perceptions that are associated with it, if we are to at-one and perceive the Christ within us. The scripture says, “follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do” (2 Nephi 31:12; JST Matthew 26:25). Christ suffers himself to endure every privation until we realize that it is we (our egos) who are doing it to him, within ourselves and to all other beings and Life. Every human who has ever been born is Divine, and has an exalted station in this creation, not only Jesus. When we do it to the least of these, including ourselves, we are doing it to Christ (Matthew 25:40, 45).

        This is because Christ exists within one and all, just as Buddha-nature exists within one and all, just as Atman exists within one and all. Our task is to become aware of it fully, and then embody it in our lives as Jesus did, as Gautama did, and as many others have done who have become aware of this divinity that sits at the core of our being and nature, which is the same as the nature of the entire cosmos and reality itself, the Light of Truth that flows in and through it all.

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  2. “I believe that Christ is also the source of our ‘primal intelligence,’ because this intelligence is ‘light and truth,’ both of which are of God.”
    I think this is the most fundamental point of our disagreement. I view both the Light and Truth of God and our individual “lights” as being made of the same stuff–in the sense that we are essentially the same in kind.

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  3. Maybe I misunderstand you, but if the singular being, Jesus Christ (Jeshua, son of Mary) , is not the ultimate Savior of mankind (as it seems you’ve put it), then why have there been so many prophecies pointing to Him alone as the Savior of all? For example, why would people be put to death, if the sign of Jesus Christ’s birth was not shown, if He were not destined to be THE Messiah? And how could He have possibly communicated to Nephi saying, “On this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world,” if He were not to be the one, true Savior of the World?
    I love many of the ideas you’ve presented, and I believe that God is light and truth and we, therefore, are originated from God in the sense that He too originates from Light, so it is all the same there. I also believe that we too become saviors in the sense that we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling and help others in kind. However, to say that we achieve salvation ultimately ourselves without the necessity of the person Jesus Christ’s atoning blood is blasphemous (see Alma 21:9).

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    1. Dylan, thank you for your comments and questions. I’ll share some of my thoughts.

      Jesus’ name originally was not Jesus Christ. Christ is a title that means “Anointed One,” and was suffixed to Jesus’ name after his death by his followers. Rather than being a person as is commonly understood, Christ is an enlightened state of mind and being, an exalted state of perception and action, the ultimate condition at which a human may attain and arrive at in life, and *that* liberates and “saves” one’s life. It is an “Anointed” state of consciousness.

      This was known to the Jews prior to “Christ” by the word “Messiah.” And anyone who attained to this ultimate state of being was known as a “Messiah” (also meaning “Anointed One”). Many of Israel’s kings were known as God’s “Messiah,” and were symbolically anointed to demonstrate this. Over time it became more a sign of blessing than an attainment of conscious being.

      Jesus was not the only Christ, but he was a very significant one. He embodied that Christ consciousness to a great extent. But I think there were many prior to him and many since that have also so attained that saving consciousness, even including Joseph Smith. We too are called to take upon us that name, to realize that exact same identity within our own minds and hearts. This is the Christ that is the Savior of us all. It is not Jesus that does it, but our own realization of Christ being within ourselves that saves us. We realize Christ just as Jesus realized Christ. We too realize we are Anointed, as Jesus realized he was Anointed.

      All the prophesies and teachings of all major spiritual traditions in all of human history have pointed to the same exalted state of being that we may realize, but they’ve called it by many different names (Christ, Buddha, Krishna, Messiah, Allah, Atman, Manifestation, the One, the Good, I AM, Jehovah, etc.).

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      1. Sorry, Bryce, but you’ve failed to answer my question. I realize that Jesus Christ is a title, which is why I used the name Jeshua (for that is the name I am most familiar with being used as His first name).
        The scripture I cited was specific to the birth of Jesus Christ (or, Jeshua, the One that most Christians refer to as the Messiah, born around 1 AD, give or take a few years). That scripture cannot have applied to anyone else. Why would prophecies only be given about this one specific person, if we all are able to attain such a Messiah stature in mortality? I believe that we can become very enlightened, to be sure, but as far as I’m aware, there are no prophecies about me or you out there, given by prophets/other enlightened, holy speakers/writers. Yet, you argue that we can achieve the same stature of Christ through meditation and oneness with God. My argument is that your thinking and logic are flawed, for there is One true Messiah, the Savior of the World, whom we refer to as Jesus Christ, who saved us from our sins. I believe we have the capacity to be enlightened, even to enter into the presence of God during our mortal lives; however, to consider oneself a savior for him/herself, independent of Christ, is ludicrous—for He, that specific person, is the mediator that allows us to ultimately enter into the presence of God.
        Here are some other verses, specific to the same Jesus I spoke of earlier:
        Helaman 14:2-8
        “Five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe in his name.”
        1 Nephi 11:18
        “The virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God”
        While I’ve heard it argued that virgin could very well be translated to young woman, it does not dismiss the fact that this verse is referring to a specific, singular person.
        Mosiah 3:8
        “His mother shall be called Mary.”
        That is pretty specific to one person.
        Alma 7:10
        “He shall be born of Mary”
        Again, my argument is for a specific, singular Savior for all of mankind. To think that He is simply one of many is to minimize His role in our salvation and exaltation. I am, by no means, trying to diminish our role, for we ultimately decide on whether we come unto God or not, but it is possible only because a Mediator has paid for our sins as a sinless vessel himself (which we are not).
        In your response, please address the idea of a specific Christ: the One cited in the scriptures I’ve listed. For the power of your argument is dependent upon how you can explain the purpose of such prophecies if all of us can achieve the same status independent of Him.

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      2. The scriptures are a guide, but they are not perfect. Unfortunately much of Christianity (including much of Mormonism) I think has made Jesus into an idol, believing he was the only Christ. I perceive this is a mistake. I believe Jesus did not come to proclaim his own exclusive divinity, but the divinity of all humanity, all of life, each and every one. It is all others who have made Jesus into something he was not. The scriptures are heavily symbolic, and we cannot take them at their surface meaning. I perceive that Christ comes into the world in every moment of every day in Life. So, yes, Christ comes into the world tomorrow, which is as true today as it was at any other time, not only when Jesus was born. We’ve come to believe that all prophesy is of one particular person, but I perceive that the prophesies of Christ pertain to each and every person, who may realize this exact same state of being. It is that state of being that is unified, that is one, that is the Christ, not one person.

        There are many prophecies about me and you, given by prophets, but we’ve been blind to them. Here are a few.

        “Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.” (Alma 5:38)

        “And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?… I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances? (Alma 5:14, 19)

        “Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen.” (Moses 6:68)

        “And then shall the angels be crowned with the glory of his might, and the saints shall be filled with his glory, and receive their inheritance and be made equal with him.” (D&C 88:107)

        “For if you keep my commandmentsyou shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace.” (D&C 93:20)

        “Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.” (D&C 132:20)

        “And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;” (3 Nephi 28:10)

        “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)

        “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3:18)

        “You have got to learn how to be a god yourself in order to save yourself… as all Gods has done.” (Joseph Smith, King Follett discourse, as reported by William Clayton)

        Yes, every scripture about Christ is about *us*. Every one.

        There is One true Messiah and Savior, yes, and *we* may be united in that One being, that One consciousness, which is the exact same wherever and in whomever it is attained, and be One. This saves us ourselves from ourselves, it redeems us from our ego. That Christ consciousness saves us all. That is our mediator in the Presence of God, which we may enter through meditation and contemplation, through changing our minds (metanoia).

        If you were able to see your fundamental Self, the Self that God has made in you, you would see it even today as a sinless stainless vessel, perfect in every way, radiating a Goodness and Love beyond comprehension. That is what we are. We are that One, we just don’t know it until we unite our minds and hearts in that Oneness.

        Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk, once beautifully described this “point vierge” (virgin point) that we all have within us.

        “At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak His name written in us, as our poverty, as our indigence, as our dependence, as our sonship. It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billion points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely.” (Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander)

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  4. I agree, Dylan. In spite of the special abilities the Father and the Son (and other divine beings) possess which enable them to be one in ways that we don’t fully comprehend during this mortal life, they are separate entities with their own unique center of consciousness.

    Bryce, it’s just me blathering again–

    Your God is incomprehensible to me. I don’t know why He would have any concern about anything that happens on this dusty little planet–except for, perhaps, His own ontological diversion.

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    1. Jack, why do we think God is comprehensible? We can’t comprehend the oneness of God until we’ve experienced it ourselves.

      “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

      “Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.” (Jacob 4:8)

      Until we realize we are one in God, then this dusty little planet might not mean much to us. But when we realize it, then all things become infinitely precious in our eyes, for we see it all as ourself.

      https://thymindoman.com/2017/12/12/the-limits-of-intellectual-thought-knowledge/

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      1. Oh, I agree that we don’t comprehend the magnitude of God’s works or His person. Even so, in the scripture you cite from Jacob, it is made clear that we may comprehend Him in some measure through revelation–both personal and canonical, IMO. We are not left without some foundational touchstones with regard to who we worship and what our relationship is to Him.
        “…all things become infinitely precious in our eyes, for we see it all as ourself.”
        I can’t imagine how that induces greater love than seeing others as separate entities and therefore infinitely unique and precious. To see my children as part of a great whole that is “me” would be an infinite and excruciatingly painful loss. We learn how to love precisely because there are others. And as we become more like God we learn how to love in ways that knit our hearts together.

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      2. Yes, we may understand some things of God through scripture, and more through personal revelation/insight. We may know the most of God by realizing our oneness in God, for only God may fully know God.

        The second great commandment Jesus said was “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” When we see ourself in others we love them even as ourself. When you do it unto the least of these, you do it unto me. The greatest love is expressed in complete union of lover and Beloved as One; they are of one heart and one mind. This is expressed in the scriptural language of the bridechamber. We love the other as one in ourself. This is why the Father loves the Son, even while they are in perfect oneness, *because* they are in perfect oneness (John 3:35; John 5:20; John 17:23-24, 26). Separation is not love; union is Love. And when we realize our oneness in God, we’ll also realize our union in all things, all that the Father hath.

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