by Phil Harker

A modern psychologist, Dr. Phil Harker, looks again at the age-old story of Christmas:
 
“Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born,
But not within thyself, thy soul shall be forlorn;
The cross upon Golgotha thou lookest to in vain
Unless within thyself it be set up again.”

 
These words, penned by the Mediaeval mystic, Angelus Silesius, inspired the following poem.
 
THE CHRISTMAS STORY
Birth of the Ever-Coming Son
 
 
The yearly celebrations speak, to minds that probe the story,
Of the cycle of God’s Life in us, from fall to final glory.
The seasons as they come and go throughout a single year
Tell of progress in the Life of Christ in all who bring Him near.
The wise who understand will know ‘we have the mind of Christ’
Who clearly see through Ego’s lie and how we’ve been enticed.
 
Religion’s world has drifted far from its vast mystery base
Where once true seekers came to know the real ‘way’ and true ‘place’
By which ‘I AM’ extends Himself through Christ’s Life in the soul
And raises in our consciousness a yearning for that goal
‘Til, like the prodigal son of old, we end our choice to roam
And turn our weary hearts and minds to seek our former home.
 
These mystery stories have become our greatest celebrations
But they’re in need of clearer thought and deeper meditations
For they no longer seem to teach us as they did so long ago
The ‘way’ that Life will conquer death, the seeming mighty foe.
Let’s look again at Christmas, let’s see why it brings ‘good cheer’
And shows how Joy can overcome each heartache, angst and fear.
 
The Christmas story seems to tell of one man’s birth in Bethlehem
But this deep truth has more to share before we gladly say Amen
For it depicts the rise to Life in each and every soul
Since ‘Christ is all’ and ‘in us all’ a truth made clear by Paul
The story is of that One Life abiding in us all
Descent from Heaven into flesh, the rescue from ‘the fall.’
 
For that which truly is alive can never really die
Incarnate Life is but asleep, though tomb’d in flesh it lie.
This is the winter of the soul, its journey through the flesh
Christmas is time when sleeping Soul begins its Life afresh.
Every birth a resurrection, every resurrection a new birth
Until that day when as One Life we slip the bonds of earth.
 
Three days beyond the solstice of the icy northern night
When Sun seems held a captive to the earthly winter’s might
There comes a gentle stirring, as of lark or deer or mouse
So our sun begins its rise again, lights up this earthly house.
WE are the ‘house of God’ you know, in whom the Son must rise.
Christmas tells us who we really are; to some a great surprise!
 
The ‘red and green’ that features large in Christmas decorations
Tells us that every human being has two contrasting natures.
The green depicts the natural life, akin the verdant knoll
The red depicts the Spirit Life, the fire within the soul
The burning of the Yule log, upon the sacred hearth
Depicts the Spirit’s inner work on stubborn human hearts.
 
And high upon the great oak tree, as grows the mistletoe,
That higher Life its host must find in nature here below.
Lovers’ kissing underneath speaks union of each kind
With mother nature as the host to father’s Spirit mind.
The intermingling of these two grows silently akin
‘Til consciousness of ‘Christ our Life’ is born again within.
 
The candle with its radiance in the window of the home
Reminds it’s good to share that Light with all who feel alone.
The power of the Spirit represented by the flame
Transforms our lowly human thoughts to prayers too deep to name.
The gifts that are exchanged depict the spark of Life in all
Must needs be shared with all we meet or ever remain small.
 
The three wise men that bring their gifts come always from the east
Like the dawning light of day our minds must be increased.
The gold is human reason that’s refined in Spirit’s fire.
Frankincense, aroma of God’s love, fills hearts with pure desire.
And Myrrh, that bitter willingness to let small self be dead…
Then we can see that all our lives are One with Him instead.
                        
The carols have their own due place within the exposition
For these express that deep desire, when given its expression
To find our long-forgotten home to which we would return
When on that day we cease to roam and end our long sojourn.
For life however wonder-filled when lived here ‘in the flesh’
Must always have a jaded end, it can’t be ever-fresh.
 
Tis from the birth of Spirit’s Life, well-nurtured as it grows
We feel the freshness of the morn that’s ever far from close.
And so Accuser’s ‘guilty’ charge, for which we fear we must atone
Will be proved false, come Easter dawn, when joined in Christ alone.
Ego says our names are legion; not true, there’s only One
That name is Christ who is our Life, God’s One and guiltless Son.
 
“Joy to the world, the Lord has come,” as heaven and nature sing
“Let every heart prepare it’s room, in us is born a King.”
And let the shepherds of such truth keep watch throughout this night
For they are those who hear that call, right now – the time is right.
Then gather round the little ones who’ll need their strong support
As they do battle ‘in the flesh’ and ego’s lies are fought.
 
Worship not the metaphor for history leaves us cold
Receive the ‘Ever-Coming Son’ who’s always new, not old.
And sing with praise the song of Life God seeks to make our own
That we may ever sit with Him upon His inner throne
And there will be rejoicing when the prodigal returns
Adorned with ring and robe and crown; the great assize adjourns.
 
Our life is hid with Christ in God; His Life we did not steal
And God is One who changes not, no matter what seems real.
For it is ‘God that justifies,’ the ego that condemns
So long as we believe it’s lie the exile never ends.
Thus Christmas tells the story of the first step back to home
Let us follow through the seasons and forever cease to roam.
 
 
Phil Harker