An interesting phenomenon of A Course in Miracles is that at different times during Helen's scribing of the Course it was during holiday seasons, particularly at Christmas, Easter, and New Year's. As Helen was scribing and these seasons approached, Jesus was integrating the major theme of whatever it was he was discussing, whether it was in the Workbook or the Text, and integrated this with symbolism of the season. For example, at the beginning of Chapter 20, one finds references to the Easter season, in fact the first section of Chapter 20 is "Holy Week." When it comes to Christmas, there are two places where this occurs. One is in the Workbook, Lesson 303, "The holy Christ is born in me today," and near the end of Chapter 15. I thought I would read one of the particularly lovely brief passages that relate to Christmas. It is Chapter 15, Section XI, paragraph 2:
"The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. See it not outside yourself, but shining in the Heaven within, and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come."
This fits in very, very nicely with the theme of that section and the chapter, that the time of Christ is really the Holy Instant in which there is no sacrifice, in which we choose against the ego and choose Jesus as our teacher. And a particular component of that choice is recognizing that there is nothing outside of us that can affect us in any way; that the light of Christmas is not something external, that the birth of Jesus into the world should not be seen as anything that has to do with form or the birth of the body, but basically the appearance of this great symbol of Heaven's love that is in our mind. It is not something that appears and disappears; it is always there. The season of Christmas offers us the opportunity of remembering that the time of Christ is always right now.
A major theme of the Course is that linear time is an illusion, and there is no past and there is no future. So, Christmas is not something that occurred once 2100 years ago, it is not something that we anticipate each year in terms of the gifts we will give and the gifts we will receive. Rather, it is a symbol of the fact that this light is always shining in the darkness of our ego-driven minds, and even as the shadows of guilt that we have made real and have projected onto the world and all the relationships in the world, this light still shines; the presence of the Holy Spirit in our minds has never disappeared. It is this light shining in darkness that this season is the remembrance of. As we approach this season, with all the hoop-la and all the commercialism that we are all so basically disgusted with, we can nonetheless still use the Christmas symbolism as a reminder to ourselves that despite what goes on in our personal world or the world at large, this light is always shining. And there is nothing, (and this is perhaps the most important aspect of this symbolism), absolutely nothing in the world that can take this light away from us, except our own decision (our own fear) to see that there is a power greater than Heaven, that there is a power greater than love, and that we are that power. This is the source of the belief in separation, this is the belief in guilt, but all this is part of the ego's trickery. The truth of the matter is that this light remains always and can never be extinguished by any of our faulty decisions.
We are told repeatedly in the Course that our life here is a dream, and dreams are not reality. This light of Christmas shining in our minds is the light beyond the dream, is the love that is beyond all the fear, and all the guilt and the hate and the pain and the suffering and the death that so characterizes our world. So, this season, let us remind ourselves that no matter what goes on in our personal world, we can still find this love, this peace, and this hope of Christmas. It is the hope that really ends up being a certainty. It is the hope that tells us no matter what is going on, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, there is always a light that shines in darkness, and it is this light that is the true meaning of Christmas.
“The Sign of Christmas Is a Star” is available as an audio product at our Online Bookstore.