I have found that I am reflecting again on Christmas. I guess this is quite natural since Christmas is just a few days away. Each year I like to do something during Advent to help me reflect on the life of Jesus as whole, so that I am reminded of what we are truly celebrating. This year I did something a little different. I listened to an audio series done by a Zen buddhist about his understanding of the life of Jesus. It is call Jesus: Emobdying the Spirt of a Revolutionary Mystic by Adyashanti. I would recommend this is is quite interesting and well done. I find it very rich to hear how someone understands Jesus who is not a Christian but takes Jesus seriously.
Adyashanti focuses on what he calls the metaphorical use of the story - what is really equivalent to what in Christianity we would call the moral use of scripture - how scripture speaks into our lives, how we live and how our souls are formed. This has gotten me thinking of Meister Eckhart, the great mystic - who spoke about the birth of the Word in the soul. From this perspective Christmas is not only a celebration of the birth of Jesus long ago, but also how Jesus continue to be born in our lives and in our souls. From this perspective Mary represents us - how when we are open to God's will, God's Spirit and God's action, Christ is formed within us and birthed through us into the world.
From this perspective Advent is about how we prepare and create a space in our hearts for the birth of Christ. It is a season of cleaning out the stable - removing from our lives the junk that blocks the spirit. All of this is preparation so that we might receive the true gift - the gift of God's own self - Christ born within us.
It strikes me that in the midst of present buying, Christmas celebrations and the rush, even in the midst of Christmas parents, services, family gathering and carols - we may still be missing the wild and wonderful gift that God gives us - The incarnation of God. Emanuel, God with us, in us and through us. May you encounter wonder of the greater of the universe, with in you and amongst us this Christmas.