Christmas and A Course of Love, by Ivor Sowton

I walked the world to in order to reveal a God of Love (Third Treatise, 5.6)

It is remarkable how huge Christmas is in the human psyche. All over the Western Hemisphere, Europe, much of Africa, Australia, the Pacific Islands and major parts of Asia billions of people celebrate Christmas as the high point of the spiritual calendar. Even those who generally pay only lip service to Jesus or Christianity or even spirituality in general celebrate Christmas, with a build-up of at least two weeks before December 25th, leading to a crescendo of gift-giving and big gatherings of family and friends–usually the biggest concentration of such gatherings in the whole of the calendar year.

What is the power here that so motivates even a highly technological, consumer-oriented society to so break out of the usual modus operandi so dependably year after year, decade after decade, century after century?
Obviously something in the whole Christmas gestalt is deeply archetypal, deeply meaningful, and broadly applicable to a vast majority of people in these parts of the world. Even avowed atheists celebrate social Christmas–that is, gift-giving and celebratory gatherings.

I used to volunteer in a State Hospital, which in my state means the poor and indigent come there for the mandated free minimal care as determined by the government, called “medical necessity.” The word there among the nursing staff was “there’s no such thing as a death-bed atheist.” I saw it myself. Dying people were holding crucifixes, or asking for the Chaplain, or wanting the care staff to pray with them. Jesus was very frequently evoked. The small hospital chapel was frequently peopled by family members, sometimes making end-of-life decisions for their relatives in hushed, reverential tones, before a beautiful painting of Jesus, Hofmann’s “Jesus at thirty-three”, my favorite. There were always beautiful donated fresh flowers. Most notably, Christmas in the hospital was absolutely huge, with carols broadcast for weeks, children’s choirs coming in, church volunteers bringing gifts, etc. The most sacred time of the year in the Hospital calendar by far.

A Course of Love (ACOL) is for me and for most people reading this a very current portal through which the source of all this Christmas hullabaloo–Jesus himself–sheds light on the importance of his advent and continuing mission for us here on Earth. He says “I walked the Earth in order to reveal a God of love,” and then he states that that message was appropriate then AND now–that is, this message is universally relevant.
We do so need to feel that God is really a God of love; that’s the bottom line. Some kind of great Being showed up 2014 years ago, born in very humble circumstances, living only a short time among us, but completely changing the course of human history forever in a most positive way. No, suffering in the outward appearance of the human drama didn’t seem to disappear then or since, but we had something to orient to now, something to call upon to become uplifted , some great context in which to find spiritual meaning in our lives. Like a great beacon that appeared then and continues to shine now, shining light from our own depths, as it were–from that universal, deepest level of the human psyche, Jesus Christ represents our Oneness with each other to us in a way we can feel, even when we can’t understand it intellectually.

In Jungian psychology that deepest archetypal level of the human psyche is indeed shared by all of us. This is why we don’t want to be judging “others” harshly, because there are no “others” at that deepest level, where we really do take all of our thoughts and feelings about everybody and everything as self-attributions. It’s like the popular saying “what goes around comes around.” So if I judge you, my own psyche feels bad–about me!
So from this very deepest level that Christ light is shining, all the time–that light of Universal Love through which we can once again come to know a God of Love. Carl Jung repeatedly noted in his work with the dying that their dreams were full of continuity themes, as if to say that the Eternal in us had taken over in “the dying”, delivering them from finite life in a finite body. At that Eternal level, a God of Love can be felt again, because if we’re immortal, a lot of our fears are obviously obsolete.

Further, once we actually learn that we are all one at that deepest level, we finally become convinced that love is the only way. I say finally convinced because we have to work through layers of self-hatred before accepting that great Love, apparently. For in this view we wouldn’t be judging anybody else unless we first had enough self-loathing to need someone else to be so wrong.

And it is Jesus who is teaching us here in ACOL how to reclaim access to this deepest level of our psyches and bring in the Love Divine. And it is Jesus who represents the bursting forth of that deep Internal Light into our actual perceived daily lives. Of course Jesus is not the only Great Master to represent this Light, as he often says in the ACOL. But for many of us he is That One.

So thank-you Jesus, for having come here to us–once in time, and always in effect.

Merry Christmas to all!

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