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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Joy for the New Year

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed... and all went to be taxed, every one to his own city." -- The Bible; Luke 2: 1-3

As I was listening to a reading of the Christmas story on Christmas Eve, it was as if a translation was going on in my awareness.  The world of Caesar, in this story, is the illusory material world with all its laws and limitations that seem to bind us and burden us.  The tax is the need to bow down to these laws, to sacrifice to them and obey them and suffer because of them.  Whether these are laws about bodies or laws about finances (and taxes!) or laws about relationships, the result is the same.  We are on a treadmill trying to keep up and we feel guilt if we don't measure up.  So we stay on that treadmill trying to fix it, to change it, or to succeed in it.  Sometimes we just feel the need to punish ourselves or someone else for not measuring up to those insane laws.  It's all the same thing, and the end result is a dizzying sense of burden and unease and guilt, even in the best of times.  

Then, in the midst of this story of all the world bowing down to Caesar and paying taxes in tribute, Mary goes into labor.  There is of course no room for this innocence in the insanity of guilt and need that is the world of Caesar.  No room in the inn, which is where that world says we must stay.  But in this amazing story of joy and deliverance, Mary gives birth to baby Jesus (Emmanuel, God with us!) right where she finds herself, which in the world's view is the lowliest of circumstances.  This birth is taking place right where we are, wherever we are!  No special circumstances needed!  The birth pains come from our clinging to stories of wrongness, guilt, blame, lack, and limitation.  The actual birth is the act of forgiving, of letting go of the burden of believing we are subject to laws of guilt, lack, and limitation.  And the baby (God with us!) is the dawning Awareness of our Eternal Innocence and abiding as expressions of the One Love and Light that is God.  We are that new born Awareness, expressing Love and Joy and Peace.  We are the Christmas Story.  This new day, and every new day. 

As 2018 approaches, we don't need health or relationship or financial or political or ecological miracles to experience security and fulfillment.  "Perfect security and complete fulfillment are my inheritance." (A Course in Miracles; Workbook 56:1:5).  True miracles are born of our perfect innocence (ALL of us!)  and Infinite Love (ALL of us!) as pure Awareness.  This Awareness is God expressing in the world of Caesar, and is the only miracle we ever need.  This pure and innocent Awareness reveals the true hope and joy we all bring to the new year as Emmanuel, God with us!  We are the Christmas Story.  This new day, and every new day!  

"There is one thought in particular that should be remembered throughout the day.  It is a thought of pure joy; a thought of peace, a thought of limitless release, limitless because all things are freed within it." (A Course in Miracles; Manual for Teachers 16:6:1-2) 

"When they saw the star [when the Awareness of Emmanuel, God with us! dawned], they rejoiced with exceeding great Joy!" -- The Bible; Matthew 2:10

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