Christmas: God comes to us again!
Greetings to you from the sacred abode of Lord Arunachala Siva - the all gracious One, who is shining in the centre of the whole universe as a pillar of magnificent Light, standing here in the town of Thiruvannamalai as the ancient mountain, and resplendently radiating in the heart of all things.
As we draw close to the celebration of the birth of Christ a renewed gratitude captivates my heart for God’s gift of love and light offered to us in the Christ-Child. The Christian faith teaches that Lord Jesus was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary through the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit. Similarly, it is said that on the night of the Buddha’s conception his mother saw a great white elephant enter her womb, and Lord Vishnu himself descended into the womb of Mother Devaki to be born as Krishna, and Lord Muruga is born out of the brilliance of the all-consuming light of Shiva’s eye...
All these great birth stories of different cultures and traditions signify the greatness of the personality being born and the intensity of the sacred moment. It reveals that God breaks through all the laws and logical arguments of the mind in his insistence on coming to his people. The virgin-birth of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit is one of those great moments in time and space when God reveals his enormous love and desire for humanity. He is big enough to take the form of a little baby to confront our illusions and shine his pure Light in this world.
Swami Vivekananda in his speech “Christ the Messenger” says,
“The vibration of light is everywhere, omnipresent;
but we have to strike the light of the lamp before we can see the light.
The Omnipresent God of the universe cannot be seen
until He is reflected by these giant lamps of the earth -
the Prophets, the man-Gods, the Incarnations, the embodiments of God.”
Yes, God comes to us to give us light so we can return Home. He is Emmanual - God with us. The words of the prophet Malachi have been heavy in my thoughts this Advent Season, “...and the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple”. During the ten day festival of Kartigai Deepam, here in Thiruvannamalai, the murthis (divine images) were taken out in procession daily. With bated breath we will wait for the deities to come out of the temple. The instant the holy images appear, adorned majestically on their thrones, a wave of excitement, devotion and wonder fills the crowds. And for a moment you realise that this is God himself coming to his people. A virgin moment occurs, a pure moment of God’s grace and mystery, that the logical mind cannot fathom. “...And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple”... It’s not just a statue being carried around – it’s God himself! It’s not just a baby being born in a stable - it’s God himself! And the mind cannot fathom this but the heart of the devotee knows that there is more truth here than in all the logical reasoning found in the pages of a thousand books. It’s God confronting us, breaking through all our barriers and embracing us even if we think it’s ridiculous that God can actually come to us.
This is the message of Christmas and the birth of every great embodiment of Divine Light. The God whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple! What is this temple? The cave of the heart. The awakening to a higher consciousness. The blissful-awareness of being. Love responding to Love. We all are seeking this God who promises to come to us. As long as we are not satisfied with all the things that we thought will satisfy us – we are seeking!
Let us in faith dare to chant the Advent Anthem “O Morning Star, the splendor of eternal light, the dawning sun, and sun of justice. Come and enlighten us who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.”
You may feel far from God or unworthy of such unbounded love, but s/he will break through and come to you. You may be hurt and disillusioned with life, but God comes to you. You may not believe in God, but s/he will still come to you. No matter how dark the night is, the morning sun will rise! And you may ask like Mary, who said to the angel Gabriel, “how can this be?” And the response of faith comes in the words of the angel, “With God, nothing is impossible”.
So this Christmas dare to believe in the impossible. Dare to open wide your hearts so God may come and renew it, and cause a virgin birth in you, a new pure awakening. Faith is not about reason and logic, but it is the courage to believe, to open that forgotten part of ourselves where dreams live and a sense of the mystical flourishes. There is more to us than our conscious mind and when we access those deeper levels then everything is transformed with pure light. Then the Virgin-birth will not just be something of the past but something manifesting in every cell of the universe. Every moment will become a new pure virgin offering of life. And even though we may seem to defile these pure moments of God’s self-revelation with our pre-conceived ideas, God in his grace will continue to come to his temple in the freshness and purity of his love, until we see and believe and with the Angel shout, “With God, nothing is impossible!”
Wishing you a blessed Christmas.
With all my love,