There's a definite and important form to this moment: although the form is slowly being overwhelmed by commercial, cultural, and sentimental forces, the form is originally sacred and heavenly.
Although the form is entirely outward, in terms of our experience of the associations, the characters, the story, the form is meant to represent an inner event; and those of us committed to the exploration of our own spirituality should never forget this. The birth of Christ, after all, symbolizes the birth of a new Being within all of us.
The heavenly is perpetually made manifest within the present moment, because nothing can exist except as a manifestation of the Divine. Yet the conscious representation of the Divine can only take place through an effort of Being; and this is the task which Christ called us to.
We are meant to become open to the influence of God; the Holy Spirit is supposed to descend into our bodies, manifesting as an angelic energy, so that our Being comes into alignment with God.
So in every moment, from within our inability, our iniquity, we are meant to intuit our lack and reach into the darkness of our own soul towards the touch, the intimate touch, of a higher principle. At this moment I'm moved to recall one of my favorite fragments of poetry, which Lord Pentland supposedly had posted in his kitchen, perhaps on the refrigerator:
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
This doesn't hit any high points in terms of literary quality, but it hits the highest point in terms of its understanding.
We mark the beginning of the new year on January 1; but for some reason, for me, the new year always begins at Christmas, with the reminder of the birth of a higher principle on this level.
We stand, each one of us, before the unknown on this Christmas morning; and when fortunate and blessed with grace, our hearts open to the mystery of the unknown which each one of us faces in this moment. In the midst of the uncertainty, the trouble, and the love of this life, perhaps we can pause and admit that we have not surrendered ourselves sufficiently unto the Lord.
We don't know how.
And it is that cry for help itself, which every man and woman who works on their inner being issues, that may — just may — call down a force that will help us in the midst of our helplessness.
May the grace and mercy and love of the Lord be with all of you on this Christmas Day.