As the celebration of Christmas grows near, so too do the signs of the Wonder of Christmas; lights, nativity scenes, shopping and wrapping of special gifts, trimming of trees, and the look of wonder in the eyes of children. It is, as the song suggests, “the most wonderful time of the year.” Until it isn’t.
A day meant to fill our hearts with joy, and hope often gets lost in the stress of meeting expectations, our own and those of the world around us. For some, the day itself may be associated with painful memories or the loss of loved ones. “Where is the wonder?” Your heart may ask.
The Wonder can still be found. It lies in a deeper and richer understanding of the nativity story itself, one that goes beyond the words transcribed on the page. Historians and Bible scholars debate the facts and authenticity of the story. Dates and times do not align with the scarce bits of recorded history from the time. The story seems to be purposeful in connecting Jesus to the lineage of the House of David, which causes some to speculate its intention. But the Wonder is not to be found in aligning historical facts or scriptural prophecies. It is found in the deeper meaning of a story rich with symbolism.
Jesus taught through parables, stories that symbolized elements of the human experience, its challenges, endeavors, and divine potential. His followers would have done the same. They would have incorporated this compelling, symbolic story-telling into their work and embedded it in the most magnificent parable of all, the birth, life, and death of their Master and Way-shower, Jesus.
What then, are the characters and elements of the nativity story trying to tell us? Could each of them be an aspect of our own consciousness giving birth to an expression of God? Could they represent a recognition of ourselves as both fully human and fully divine? Could they describe the seeking of something greater, of hope and faith and joy, found not in a stable but in a humble place within the human heart?
Most of this spectacular story is found in the Gospel of Luke. But an additional, wonder-filled story is relayed in the second chapter of Matthew, where we find wise ones from the east following a star to an unknown place in the west. A songwriter calls it the Star of Wonder. And no doubt it was a wonder.
Imagine what kind of star or sign would cause you to embark on a lengthy and dangerous journey wrought with spitting camels, narrow mountain passages, desert storms, thieves, and a dubious, deceitful king. It would have to be a great sign, a wonder on par with perhaps the Seven Wonders of the World. Bigger than life. Awe-inspiring. Overwhelming. Beautiful. Perhaps an inkling of something wonderful being born, leading you to a place of perfect peace, hope, and wholeness.
This awe-inspiring light, one that would encourage you to traverse all obstacles to discover its source lies within you. The star represents a glimmer of light, an inspiring thought that stimulates the wise ones, the Power of Wisdom within you that sometimes lies dormant. The Star of Wonder is the great light of Spiritual Understanding, offering clarity and guidance.
Where there is light, we can see what we could not see in the darkness. Our way is made clear. This Light of Understanding within you continually guides the wisdom in you through the challenges and difficulties of human life to a place where you can lay down the worldly gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh in exchange for the spiritualized gifts of Infinite Abundance, Divine Love, and a recognition of the eternal nature of the Essence of Life in you and all around you.
The gifts of the wise ones represent capacities that are always within you but are spiritualized or spiritually empowered when brought under the direction of the Christ or Higher-self. These wonders within you are most accessible when you make the journey from your head to your heart, where the Christ of you is continuously born anew and awaits your return in consciousness.
The Wonder of Christmas is not lost. The Wonder is you. You, as an expression of the eternal, all-pervading Essence of Life. Now that is a Wonder that can never be lost, only hidden. Breathe in the glow of the inner star and be guided in all that you do to the peaceful place of absolute wholeness with you.
Have a Wonder-filled Christmas, and enjoy a spectacular new You.
© 2019. Rev. Eileen Patra.
Eileen Patra is an ordained Unity Minister and the author of The Mystical Ark: A Vessel of Blessings. She is currently serving as co-minister at the Spiritual Life Center in Troy, Michigan and guest speaking at a variety of Unity churches. She is currently working on her second book, Living as the Ark. Learn more about The Mystical Ark at themysticalark.com