Today I’d like to share with you a true story about my second Christmas sermon. The extra sermon from last night. A thoroughly unruly, unexpected second sermon.
But first, let’s acknowledge…
The Christmas Blessing You Get, Sermon or No Sermon
All of us, reading this now, have quite a history with Catholic and Protestant religions. For some (me included), that history has been inspiring. For others (and also many of the aforementioned “some” — me included) we’ve been burned by Christianity. Burned, or frozen out, sleeted on, etc.
Nonetheless, every human being on earth is offered one gorgeous blessing each Christmas day: The heavenly peace.
Why does peace arrives on earth every Christmas Day?
For supernatural reasons, perhaps.
“White Christmas” fans might add, “No way. Peace descends upon us because it snows.” If we’re robbed of that, we’ll go for second best and imagine a glorious, picture-perfect snowfall. Then we can find ourselves some sacred peace.”
Whichever variations a person creates on that theme, Christmas peace is available. It fills the planet each year just because so many people are worshipping, wishing, trusting, remembering, longing.
Even those who don’t participate see all those wreaths and trees, not to mention all the shopping. Christmas is the single biggest holiday on earth, conveniently occurring on one single day.
With all due respect to non-Christian religions, including the no-frills faith of Atheism, Christmas is inescapable. Collective consciousness trumpets a blessing upon us.
And What Is That Christmas Blessing?
Peace, love, and connection to the Divine.
May you feel it today, chiming within your heart.
Or perhaps bringing a few moments of calm to your mind.
Your body might reverberate with a very human, gift-opening glee.
And… or… all the way through to your soul, you may be singing.
I’ll admit to receiving all that. Which is why I want to tell you this story of my Second Christmas Sermon this year.
Before That Second Christmas Sermon, Guess What?
We celebrated the first Christmas Sermon. Bell choir. Chorus. Special readings galore. Christmas carols. So many poinsettias onstage, they could have sung as their own choir.
This lovingly decorated Christmas Eve service took place at a Methodist Church in Northern Virginia. Not a fancy church particularly, this one serves a far less affluent community than you might find, say, at the nearest Episcopal church.
Note: One thing I’ll say for the Trump election. For me, it raised consciousness about class and hidden suffering in America. You too, Blog-Buddies? Since November, I’ve been seeing it more: Class. Poverty. Long-term suffering. Although I did see and feel it before. Now, however, more. Definitely more.
Anyway, the minister at this particular church, Rev. Gary, always gives a simple sermon that perfectly matches the tone of his congregation. He emphasizes themes of suffering, survival, and redeeming faith.
Although these aren’t messages that I especially craved to hear, I could feel the importance that the preacher reached out in this way. Sure enough, all these themes were in evidence last night during the First Christmas Sermon. Rev. Gary made sure there was something for everyone.
But then there was, unexpectedly, more.
How The Second Christmas Sermon Began
Back in the crowded rows of seats, a cute little baby cooed. Then he-she-it squeaked like a flute.
Oh, so cute.
If I remember accurately, Rev. Gary was now showing slides from a movie about Christmas.” So we were watching the Christ child, held by a beaming Mary. And lo! We had our own special choir in the back row.
Only then another baby, towards the back, began to whimper quite loudly. Soon the first baby was off and running. Okay, off and crying.
Bits of wailing and whimpering continued. For the rest of the service, some 30 minutes.
Which is why I consider all that screaming could qualify as our second Christmas sermon.
While the minister spoke, slightly louder than normal, I wondered. Would be able to remember what he had planned to say? Also, might he gently say from his pulpit, “Would you take those ***!@#$!#%^#^!!!” babies out of the room?”
But he didn’t say that. And apparently nobody else in the sanctuary said a thing, either.
Thus, we received our second Christmas sermon. And 30 counts as a long time for any sermon.
What’s With That Long Extra Sermon?
Whenever I witness people who put something unpleasant into denial, I pay attention. Whether it’s an official “sermon” or “session” or what.
During the first Christmas sermon, I didn’t draw any conclusions about that second sermon.
But I sure felt plenty. Annoyed, for starters. (And maybe I shouldn’t admit this next part, particularly since on this occasion, I probably managed to control my own face.) Whenever I saw others roll their eyes, it brought me great satisfaction.
Ever notice? Infant screams have a particularly piercing quality. Who cannot hear that? Except for the hard of hearing. And also the exhausted parents of babies who cry plenty, and not just in church.
Picture the polarity, Blog-Buddies. On the one hand, the oh-so-pure and sacred Christ child. On the other, Anonymous Two, two babies who were no longer remotely cute.
“Bad babies, shut up. We want to hear about The Good Baby.”
What I Learned From the Second Christmas Sermon
Babies are adorable. Babies are holy. Babies bring out the best in us.
And not only Baby Jesus.
Humans are hot-wired to adore babies, even on bended knee… during a long, colicky night.
But babies also represent work. Responsibility galore!
And when there are problems with those babies, it;s our responsibility to speak up. To do something, if at all appropriate.
Yet in that Virginia church, other members of the congregation must have thought otherwise. Perhaps there was theologically-based justification, “The crying is God’s will. In fact, that crying must be my lesson for today. Once again, I must learn more about how to endure suffering.”
What else explained all that denial?
Personally, though, a message I take from that Second Christmas Sermon is simply to do my part. When I can.
Last night, I couldn’t rise up like the warrior-priestess-heroine of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” No way would I risk knock over my neighbors in the pew, an 80-something couple visiting from Wales. Human forbid! Not me, knocking down worshippers like bowling pins, then marching down the aisle until — for joy — I could personally take out those babies, one after another.
Although some of you who know me could probably picture me doing that. Me too. Haha.
Second Christmas Sermon Finesse
Doing what really is ours to do, or reasonably could be. That is the moral of that sermon for me.
A sermon made all the more vivid because there IS so much suffering on earth. As a spiritual teacher and the Founder of Rosetree Energy Spirituality (RES), my job is to remove suffering by bringing in truth — on occasion, a truth that is lit up like Baby Jesus (at least to me).
Also my job is to do the equivalent of what responsible parents must do. For this Enlightenment Coach, that’s not feeding or burping. Seems to me, I must speak up on occasions when healers do shoddy work in mind-body-spirit and I’m told, “It’s all the same, isn’t it? We all do the very same thing and it’s all soooo sugary beautiful.”
Regardless of the roles that you play in this world, I think it’s an important message for now. Since it’s officially, for now, a post-truth era. Seems to me, each of us has a moral duty to say “Yes” to what’s sacred and true. Also, sometimes, to speak out a firm “No.”
Doing that adult job is appropriate for people old enough to have children, or grandchildren, of their own.
Meanwhile, Back At The First Christmas Sermon
Regardless of age, each of us does have a way to relate to that adorable Christ child.
Maybe we’ll hear it differently than intended, when the minister says, “God came into earth, forsaking the joys of heaven, in order to save humanity. Such a sacrifice!”
Living in The Age of Awakening, maybe we can hear, that wasn’t just Jesus. That very same sacrifice has been done by you and me.
We came here to uplift humanity, and to have fun, and to awaken spiritually as much as we can.
In Enlightement, we’ll be God walking around in a body… more than ever. (With different ways of doing that, depending on whether what’s being lived is Householder Enlightenment for this age OR the traditional, beautiful Surrender Model of Enlightenment.
I can believe that each of us is God-in-a-body. Also, I cheerfully admit, being human is weird. Think about it:
At any age, inside we’re still babies. So vulnerable. Wanting so much to be loved.
Yet simultaneously radiating a Divine presence, which will last for as long as we live.
Look at any human being you see today, and you can find both sides of the polarities. (And more.)
Always, that childlike vulnerability is a surprise message, only partially hidden. You can see it on every human face.
First Sermon, Second Sermon, Whenever Sermon.
Whether Christmas Or Not.
May today inspire each of us to make our peace with life’s great human contradictions. When we encounter suffering along with joys, we can be big enough to acknowledge them both.
Would that rip us apart? No. And we might even find a pristine, ineffable wonder. Since life on earth remains so beautiful, no matter what.
Every day, you and I get to find our own surprise messages. I love that about Earth School. Don’t you?
And maybe the great peace of Christmas Day can help each of us to live more fully in a world with irreconcilable contradictions.