Choosing Transformation: Reflections on the Christmas Story


by Rev Mario Schoenmaker (an excerpt)

What Does Christmas Mean to You?

Christmas night in ancient times, before the world even thought of Christmas, was a night sacred to the initiates, to those who knew the secrets of the universe. It was a night in which they would come together in silence, and in the darkness of their caves meet with one another. In silence they would sit and wait for the music of the spheres, wait until they could hear the music that came from heaven which only the trained ear could hear.

And when in the darkness they perceived that melody, then they knew that again for this year an avatar was born, a divine soul conceived into a human body, a saviour had arisen, as we have seen down the ages in Buddha, Krishna and other godly people. That night when all over the world the sages came together in the darkness of their caves and suddenly found the light shining − yet with no light appearing at all − their hearts lifted in utter wonder and they knew that finally the promise was fulfilled.

The darkness of this earth had now disappeared. The light shone.

Two thousand years have passed and the mystics no longer meet together at twelve o'clock midnight in silence. Now we meet with bombs, threats and bloodshed, with Santa Claus and ‘Jingle Bells’. We are so busy doing good and speaking about the poor that we have no time for the mystics.

A Night of Knowing
But Christmas night, brothers and sisters, is the night of the mystic. It is a night of stillness, of quiet contemplation and waiting. Every Christmas night, all over the world, it is the same. It cannot be a night for drinking and drugs and festivities. It is a night which belongs to those who know how to raise themselves into contemplation whereby they can again perceive that light. It’s a night in which you must forget that you have children. It’s a night in which you must forget that you have a husband or wife − or no-one. It’ s a night in which you are alone. And in that night, as you quietly wait, the light will shine again.

Christmas is a feast when the angels appear again to man. The glory of the heavens is opened just for a moment to the eyes of us mortals, saying, ‘This is your home’ It’s a night in which the whole world for a moment becomes dim and the inner eye focuses upon that which belongs to us by nature, the world of spirit. There is an old carol we used to sing:

Yet with the woes of sin and strife The world has suffered long; Beneath the angel-strain have rolled Two thousand years of wrong; And man at war with man hears not The love-song which they bring. O hush the noise, you men of strife, And hear ... and hear ... the angels sing.

Christmas is a night of seeing. The shepherds in the field perceived the angels and went with haste to look at the babe. They knew; and knowing, brothers and sisters, is beyond believing. That which you see you no longer believe. Belief is a sign of confusion. The humble shepherds, and the wise and intellectual men came to the crib, and they knew. And knowing, ‘I have seen the angels; I have seen the Christ; I have seen the light; I have heard the song’ makes you a transformed being. Christmas is a night of knowing.

A Night of Freedom
Christmas night is the fulfillment of a promise. The heavens open and pour out their gift, yet it takes a great man and a great woman to dare to say ‘Yes’ to that gift.

For thirty years I have been telling people, ‘You can be free. You don’t have to sit in your little cocoon, following your own desires and subject to the emotions round about you and within you’. Few listened. The rest did not hear. So they’re subject to their children who tear them apart. They’re subject to their wives who swallow them. They’re subject to their husbands who violate them. They’re subject to their grandparents who try to form them in their own image. They’re subject to the family rules. Subject! Subject! Subject!

Christianity, as the churches have preached it for two thousand years, tells you to love − but within these bonds. Consequently we have created within the world a Frankenstein monster, so that we now hate the very ones whom we are supposed to love. We cannot love the Christ, we cannot be spontaneous any more, and we cannot laugh and be joyful. But most of all, brothers and sisters, we cannot hear! We cannot hear the angels’ song.

Christmas night is the night in which a God stood up and said, ‘I no longer want to be a God. I’m going to live somewhere else in a world far removed from here’. He dared to be free from his own Gods, this little Christ. He said goodbye to his daddy, whom we call God the Father, and he said to the Holly Spirit, ‘I’d like to do my own thing, if you don’t mind’. So he came to a world that was antagonistic to him, that crucified him and killed him, but he did it!

No, brothers and sisters, you do not understand the Christ. I doubt whether you have any conception of the freedom that he offers. He would like to pick you up and say, 'Come on, brother. Come on, sister. Walk with me the road that Christmas opens for you, but you must walk it alone.’

A Night of Choice
Did you look at television today? A young men held up a microphone to an old woman and asked, ‘How do you feel on Christmas night?' The lady said, ‘I feel lonely.’ What a gift! What a wonderful gift! For you have to be alone if you want to know something about the Christ. I’m not saying you should tell everyone around you, ‘Get out.’ I’m saying don't depend on them. Don’t let them create your life. You create it, for Christ works in you to perform his miracle. That is Christmas.

If your realise the wonder of his image within you freeing you and making you capable of loving in an unutterably pure and simple way, then you know something about spirituality. Then you will forget all about the nonsense that goes on in the name of spirituality and you will transcend it in love. And in that love you will stand strong and magnificent and free.

Christmas night, the night of all nights, tells me that you and I, those who can hear − and there are plenty of deaf people around − can become Gods.

But you have to let the miracle happen in you. You have to let it happen. Spirituality doesn’t come about simply by waiting. Transformation, the change from mere weak humanity into Gods, happens by choice − a deliberate determinative choice that says, ‘Yes, I will.' Christmas night asks you to make that choice to become a God, to become a light, as Christ was the light. Then the vision of the initiates thousands of years ago in their caves will become literally true and the world will shine with souls who are alight with love, with freedom, with strength and with grace.

I wish you at transforming Christmas in which not one of you remains untouched − not by me, but by the Christ, by the power and emanation of the angels. I wish you a wondrous Christmas, a Christmas of silence and quietness, a Christmas that will wash away your bitterness and disappointments. A Christmas that will open your heart like a flower and enable you to love. That Christmas I wish you, and nothing else.

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