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!

Overcoming Fear of the Unknown

“You shy away from thoughts of a consciousness beyond that which you are aware of because of fear.  And yet you know you cannot claim that you are aware of all that exists within the universe, or even that you fully know your own self.  What is fearful about the unknown is simply that it is unknown.  Coming to know what was previously unknown to you can remove the fear, if you will let it.  (A Course of Love, 17.3)”

renoir - womenAffirmation:  “May my fears of the unknown end today.”


1 – Our Consciousness

We do have a consciousness beyond what we have known previously, at least as far back as we can recall.  We fear the unknown, and this greater consciousness is unknown and therefore fearful to us.  But this circumstance does not have to arise, or, if it does arise, it can be addressed by communing with God.  So much is resolved when we pray.  Let us not give short shift to this necessity in us as children of God who need to communicate with Him.

2 – The Universe

There is much that we do not know about the universe and even about ourselves.  And the only reason that it is fearful is because it is unknown.  When we pray to be shown, through our heart, what about our self we do not know, we will be free of the fear.  And once we know, we are at home in God.

3 – The Self/Christ

We do not want to shy away from thoughts of our greater consciousness, for the greater consciousness, the Self/Christ, is our way home.  So we shoot ourselves in the foot when we let our egoic self loose to arouse fear.  May we avoid this reaction today and everyday.


Dear Father/Mother,

I would not fear the unknown, as I did when I was a child.  We are no longer children, and we do not have to fear the dark, the unknown.

May I reach out to You in communion today, and may I reach out to Jesus as my companion.  He has promised to come to all of us in response to one unequivocal call.  I make that call right now.  And I ask him to guide my hand as I type.

May all of us have a good day today.  May we cease to struggle so much, for life, regardless of our difficulties, is meant to be joyous.  I reach for that joy today, without pushing or straining against my day.

And may I sense Your presence all the day through.


God’s Answer Is Some Form of Peace

ACIM Workbook Lesson 359 – for Sunday, December 25, 2011

Affirmation:  “God’s answer is some form of peace.  All pain
Is healed; all misery replaced with joy.
All prison doors are opened.  And all sin
Is understood as merely a mistake.”

“Sin is impossible, and on this fact forgiveness rests upon a certain base more solid than the shadow world we see.  Help us forgive, for we would be redeemed.  Help us forgive, for we would be at peace.  (WB484)”


1 – The Prison Doors are Opened

There is much summation in the lesson for today.  The prison doors are opened, and we are free.  What will we do with this freedom?  We will serve our brothers and sisters in bringing salvation to them.  We will not proselytize, if they are not ready.  But we will stand ready before the time that they are, waiting for that time to arrive.

2 – A Shadow World

Sin is impossible, and this is because we live in a shadow world, a world of illusion.  We are as God created us; we have not changed, as much as we think that we have.  We did not, in actuality, ever separate from Him.  That would be impossible.  But we could think that we had separated, and that is the situation in which we have found ourselves.

3 – The Peace of God

May we know God’s answer as peace today.  May we find only the peace of God as we walk through this day.


Dear Father/Mother,

May I return often today to the Workbook lesson.  There is much that You would have me remember, much that capsules what has come earlier this year in the Workbook.  I would rejoice that the prison doors are opened, that You have granted me the blessing of knowing what to say and do.  May I never lose sight of this blessing, and may I never take it for granted.  Also may I never imagine that You are leading me, when it is really my ego–once again rearing its ugly head.

Be with me on this Christmas Day.  May my brothers and sisters who do celebrate Christmas enjoy their day.  If my brothers and sisters reading this do not celebrate Christmas, may they reach toward You by whatever means are comfortable to them.  May the words of A Course in Miracles comfort all of Your children.

I would know Your peace, and I would ask You to deliver me from all that is in my heart and mind that keep me from knowing Your peace.  My intentions are firm, but I know that intentions are never enough.  I will always fall down unless I let You lift me up, unless I let Your Guide show me Your Way.


May Miracles Bless This World

ACIM Workbook Lesson 353 – for Monday, December 19, 2011

Affirmation:  “My eyes, my tongue, my hands, my feet today
Have but one purpose; to be given Christ
To use to bless the world with miracles.”

“Father, I give all that is mine today to Christ, to use in any way that best will serve the purpose that I share with Him.  Nothing is mine alone, for He and I have joined in purpose.  (WB481)”


1 – Rededicating to God

Today’s lesson is a dedication, or rededication, of our lives to God.  We share with Jesus our true Selfhood, the Christ that we really are.  And so we give our personal selves–our tongue, hands, feet–to the service of Christ, meaning more than just our elder brother, Jesus, but the Self that we all share.

2 – Sharing with Our World

We do not selfishly hold on to what we think “belongs” to us.  We share with Christ, and we use our gifts to save the world.  We do not cling to what we imagine to be “mine,” but we notice that we have joined with a larger purpose.

3 – We Do Not Need Many Words

As these final lessons come to us, we realize that we do not need many words to understand what is being said in A Course in Miracles.  We are finding our way home, and the best way to do that is to commune with God, in quietness.


Dear Father/Mother,

I would be quiet today, communing with You.  Thank You for this year of Workbook lessons.  Of course, they are invaluable to our growth in Your Spirit.  May I remain stress free during this holiday season, with so much activity in my daily life.  May I know what Christmas really means.  This is a prayer that we all pray, but may I make it my true prayer today.

Thank You for comforting me in times of stress.  Help me to know that You are the only cure.