Well... it’s getting down to the wire, that thing we call Christmas. There’s going to be all those sentimentalized opinion pieces about how we’ve lost the real spirit of Christmas because of the over commercialization of the material world. Oprah’s going to give everybody in the audience a Swatch watch or something. There will be some kind of heroic effort by someone who saved Christmas for someone. There will be the tender tales of families united. Celebrities will be photo-opting at the children’s cancer wards. We’ll be hoping for peace on Earth which is an unreachable fantasy and people will be nicer to each other for a few days and others will be less nice than normal because of the pressure.
Some people will go off on a bender and wake up on the far side of New Year’s Day. People will miss each other. Some will spend Christmas alone; I’ll be one of those since everyone here is flying north for the holidays and I’ve got to man the bridge. I’ll make myself a nice Aubergine Parmesan and unfold into the day, maybe call some friends. I’ll be looking for that special feeling that I sometimes get. It does exist because it’s happened a few times... Christmas spirit.
I don’t think there’s a more controversial figure than Jesus Christ. He wasn’t fooling around when he said he was bringing a sword. Kahlil Gibran wrote a book called, “Jesus, the Son of Man." It’s a beautiful thing and if you haven’t read it you really ought to. From what I can remember a fellow goes around and talks with people that met Jesus Christ and they each describe to him what they experienced, always in terms of who they are or what they did. Gibran was a remarkable writer. I once lived with a man called Father Francis. He was an archbishop in the Old Catholic Church. He lived on top of Meads Mountain in Woodstock in a quasi-medieval church that he built with his own hands. He was in his late 80’s when I knew him.
Father Francis had been quite a socialite in his day. He moved about among The Vanderbilt’s and others. He loved to tell stories about those days. Apparently Gibran came to visit him. I asked him what he thought of him and he told me that he was a very sweet man but that he drank too much wine. Digressing...
I’m not a Christian. I don’t think I am anyway. But Jesus Christ is one of my heroes none the less. There’s no real evidence that he ever existed, unless you count The Bible. Someone like him certainly was around. You look at the impact he made on history and it’s apparent that some force is at work. The story of his life is a seamless allegory. It’s a beautiful tapestry of events that covers everything everyone needs to know about how to live a better life and get into trouble at the same time. If you follow Jesus according to the establishment you should be alright; maybe even a ‘well respected man’. If you follow him according to the things he said and did you will probably get into trouble.
Not too many people actually follow Jesus Christ the way he said they should. It’s pretty extreme when you think about it. Sell everything you have and give it to the poor and then pick up your cross and follow me. I’m thinking the cross is actually the body. The soul is crucified on it. The earthly passions war in their vehicle against the higher nature.
Lately there’s been news about these televangelists. Some lawmaker has gone after them and their lush lifestyles, private jets etc. Apparently they’re living high on God’s dime and it all becomes necessary expenses. I’ve listened to a few of them explain about why they have carry on like rock stars. There’s one particularly odious representative of this form of excess; that would be Paula White. It’s fascinating to watch her freaking out with the spirit and howling out in a voice very much like a crows with the audience filled with black people. Paula’s whiter than Wonder Bread. She’s got the de rigueur Kabuki mask and a personal life chock full of a lot of the things Christians aren’t supposed to be doing. But she’s down with it.
I look at the present pope’s face. Benedict is the one who single-handedly controlled the pedophile phenomena for the church. I look at his face and I don’t see what I think you’re supposed to see. I see someone dark and devious. Maybe I’m projecting but that iconic halo glow is not happening. When they killed my friend Giordano Bruno, that was the last straw for me. Don’t ask me to explain that.
I know there are some real Christians around. I’ve met them. I’ve also been petitioning the Invisible Rosicrucian order for some contact but that hasn’t happened yet or I didn't notice at the time. I like The Rosicrucians. They exemplify what I think a Christian should be.
There’s no doubt in my mind that there is a Jesus Christ. I think about the life of the man who wrote Amazing Grace and all the tales of redemption; some of which are amazing. I look at the music and the art and architecture that this one man/God inspired. When I was a child I used to go to various cathedrals in Paris and wander about. Sainte Chapelle was one of them. There was a lot of awe in that for me. I’d go to the Louvre and look at the paintings. Back in those days an eleven year old kid could just go in and out of these places. I loved the light coming through the stained glass windows. I think of our personalities as windows that either allow or block the light. Our auras are what occur when the white light personalizes in us. Sometimes you see people with that radiance where the light is moving freely through them.
I think about the odd similarity in sound between Krishna and Christ. That’s not an accident I don’t think. So many religions have these same themes, even the pagan rites over which the church grafted their own holidays; but that’s all astrology and the implication of the planetary forces moving through human affairs.
To me the birth of Jesus is symbolic of the potential in everyone. The infant Jesus can be born in the heart of a person and then finally mature into the thing itself. It’s a white malleable softness that melts the heart into a chalice brimming with light.
So many people will try to put aside their personal trials and strife for Christmas Day. Some will succeed and some won’t. Some will go berserk in drunken outrage. Dinners will be ruined, possibly lives. Some will capture that special joy that filters from the faces of children. Well, there are presents and the presence. The presence is the present.
I’ve heard and I do believe that if you practice the presence of God that sooner or later you will be in that presence. After all, we are in the presence at all times. It’s the recognition that we don’t have. That means always bringing the mind back to the thought that ‘the one’ is listening through your ears, seeing through your eyes and that we are all brothers and sisters beneath the skin. What a marvelous thing that must be... to actually feel that everyone is a welcome part of you. How fantastic must it be to be without judgment or censure of anyone? It would be like walking through the Kingdom of Heaven while still on the Earth.
For brief periods I have felt that overwhelming love that encompasses everything. It’s a piercing thing. There’s a keen sorrow in it but it is wrapped in joy and the meld makes for an exquisite experience which can’t be duplicated by anything else. If you’ve got love in your heart you have it all. It you don’t you have nothing. Why it is so hard for us to share without restraint and to yield without conflict; to shine upon everyone as a manifestation of the divine... I don’t know. I just know it’s the hardest and simplest of things.
Here’s wishing all of you get a taste of that at some point between here and Christmas Day and that it will take root and grow. Here’s the hope that we find what is valuable and cleave so fast that we cannot tell where it begins and we leave off.
'I Need More Light' is track no. 4 of 11 on Visible's 2001 album 'God in Country'
Lyrics (pops up)