Originally printed in the November - December 2001 issue of Quest magazine.
Citation: Cabigting, Ruben. "Christmas." Quest 89.6 (NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2001):205.
By Ruben Cabigting
CHRISTMAS is a great festival when the living Christ pours out divine love and spiritual energy through his angels upon people all over the world. Each and every one of us has indeed a great opportunity willingly to receive this gift on Christmas day.
Christmas is a time of peace to all people of goodwill. The Christmas spirit is the real feeling of brotherhood that is spread throughout the world especially on this occasion. Ideally, this feeling of peace and goodwill should be for the whole year, but since we cannot feel such noble Christmas heartiness at all times, at least there is a time each year when people practice it. We share our joys with the less fortunate on Christmas Day and help to realize the great brotherhood of humanity even for this brief time.
Mary, who bore Jesus in Bethlehem, is called our immaculate Lady,Star of the Sea, Queen of Heaven, Mother of God. We see her in pictures standing on the crescent moon, star-crowned; she nurses her child Jesus; and the cross appears on the back of the chair in which he sits on his mother's knee. The Virgo of the Zodiac is represented in ancient drawings as a woman suckling a childâ€”the type of all future Madonnas with their divine Babes--showing the origin of the symbol.
The relation of the winter solstice to Jesus is also significant. The birth of Mithras was celebrated at the winter solstice with great rejoicing. And Horus was also born then, his birth being one of the greatest mysteries of the Egyptian religion, with pictures representing it on the walls of temples. At the winter solstice, the image of Horus was brought out of the sanctuary with special ceremonies, and similarly at Christmas the image of the infant Bambino is still brought out and exhibited in churches in Rome.
The story of the Nativity is mystical as well as allegorical. The Christ's life is a mystical experience, a birth that continually occursin each of us as the inherent powers of the human Spiritual Self unfold.It is a universal spiritual process that is not confined or limited to only one particular time, place, or person.
Allegorically, the three Wise Men of the Gospel account are highly evolved intelligences who assist a candidate in the process of spiritual evolution. The Star of Bethlehem represents the presence of the One Initiator, the King of the World. The inn, which was full, typifies the worldly life of men, and the stable is the hall of initiation. The Virgin Mary represents the causal body, the vesture of light, within which all spiritual birth occurs. The obedient and gentle Joseph represents the disciplined mind. The domesticated animals in the stable represent the pure and controlled emotions. The shepherds represent spiritually evolved persons who come to witness the spiritual birth.
In a similar manner, the Christmas tree represents the nervous system, its lights are the various centers of the candidate that are activated during the process of initiation, and the star at the top of the tree is the Star of the One Initiator shining triumphantly.
The Christmas festival, when correctly considered, should take on a new meaning of rejoicing, giving, loving, forgiveness, sanctity, and solemnity, so that the whole world may realize brotherhood, oneness, harmony, peace, and goodwill. Merry Christmas to all.
Ruben Cabigting is a staff member at the national center of theTheosophical Society in America and a bishop in the Liberal Catholic Church. This article was adapted from one in The Liberal Catholic 68.3 (Christmas 2000): 7.