The Secret Meaning of Christmas


Imagine our surprise when, on our recent trip to Indochina, our group of travelers arrived in Saigon to find it decorated for Christmas! Windows of one major department store were topped with thick mounds of carved styrofoam snow. Our hotel lobby held a giant blue Christmas tree and a life-sized Santa Claus who swiveled his hips while he sang “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” When I asked our guide why a mostly Buddhist country celebrates Christmas in such a big way, he replied, “Christmas is universal now. It’s all about shopping.”
Come to think of it, that’s pretty much what it’s about for many Westerners too, along with decorating our homes, reuniting with loved ones, preparing special foods and exchanging presents. Amidst all the bustle I wonder how many of us actually experience the love, joy and peace that is the promise of Christmas or profoundly connect with its underlying psycho-spiritual meaning. And what is that meaning? To find it we need to use the symbolic language of mythos.
The Christmas story takes place in a stable filled with animals at the Winter Solstice, the darkest time of year. Throughout the world, common associations for the symbol of darkness include the unconsciousness of our instinctual animal nature and all the ignorance, chaos, death, and moral irresponsibility that goes with it. Psychologically, this setting is a reference to unconsciousness, the state in which we all begin our lives and often end them as well.
The plot centers around a virgin who gives birth to a baby boy. Virgins and babies symbolize innocence and the abundance of undeveloped possibilities, like the pure state of a soul ready to receive Spirit. Birth represents new life with its potential for growth into greater maturity and wisdom. And is there significance in the fact that the baby is a boy? Yes. Remember Durga’s story from two posts back? Mary, like Durga, symbolizes the feminine source of all energy, and Jesus represents an extraordinarily hopeful new masculine form of ego-life that has manifested from the maternal matrix. From our soul’s perspective, the significance of Jesus is that 2,000 years ago he introduced into the Near-Eastern world an unprecedented (for that place and time) new capacity for an inner birth of a deeply personal, intimate experience of Spirit.
At the end of the story three (the number of forward movement that overcomes duality) kings (the masculine principle, sovereignty, and worldly power) arrive after a long and arduous trek from the Far East. Guided by a star, (stars are attributes of all Queens of Heaven and represent the highest attainment, the presence of divinity, hope and light), they bring rare and precious gifts for the tiny baby. The kings symbolize the hard work of individuation and the religious outlook of unified consciousness, a way of being that sees the sacredness in everything and reveres every form of life down to the smallest and seemingly least important.
Like the myths of every religion, the value of this story does not hinge on external fact, but psychological truth. Christ mass celebrates a momentous evolutionary leap forward in ego consciousness from a primitive, self-serving survival mentality into an advanced self-awareness capable of authentic being and compassionate living. The secret meaning of Christmas is that you and I can experience a rebirth into Christ-awareness.
May psychological and spiritual enlightenment be quickened worldwide during this holiday season, and may the love in our hearts be abundant and overflowing.  Thank you for stopping by on this most blessed day. Merry Christmas.

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0 Responses

  1. Blessings Jeanie,
    As our family, children, grandchildren, and cousins, gathered around the table on Christmas Even after our Church service of an adaption of “Lessons and Carol” we talked about why we honor the birth of Christ. Your post captured so beautifully what I tried to say, I forwarded it to everyone in the family Christmas day.
    Thank you for your wise words,

    1. Sally,
      Thank you for your trust in my words, but know I trust that your words were every bit as sufficient as mine, and far moreso, because they came from your heart and were directed to people you love who love you back. Communications from love to love are the most meaningful and memorable of all….and make the most difference.
      I so appreciate your support,

  2. Some celebrate shopping, some the meaning of peace, love and goodwill. Me, I am missing the love built of deep connections and carefull tending like the newborn babe who sniffles to riminds her Mother that she has been unattended too long.
    This blog reminds me to follow the star and bring my chrished ones to sit and nuture what is on the planet for me to see and share. The gift of each other!. Eyes that smile, skin that is soft, kisses that smack and words that fill my head with nods that hear old vibrations and new stories fill with outlandish parts of otherworldly creations.
    Blessed are the days of replinishment and remembering how deep, rich and eternal our source is. Ann

    1. Dear Ann,
      Deep connections and careful tending…of the gift of each other…are what life is all about, as no one knows better than you. This time of year makes me especially grateful for my cherished ones and reminds me that understanding otherness is matched only by patiently and reverentially loving it anyway.

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