ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 24
The Poetry of Helen Schucman
The Hope of Christmas
Christ is not born but neither does He die,
And yet He is reborn in everyone.
The rising and the birth are one in Him,
For it is in the advent of God’s Son
The light of resurrection is begun.
Heaven needs no nativity. And yet
The Son of Heaven needs the world to be
His birthplace, for the world is overcome
Because a Child is born. And it is He
Who brings God’s promise of eternity.
It is His birth that ends the dream of death,
For in Him death is brought to life. Behold
The earth made new and shining in the hope
Of love and pardon. Now God’s Arms enfold
The hearts that shivered in the winter’s cold.
There was an instant long ago when God
Proclaimed His Word, and all the world was still
To hear and answer. Yet it could not hear
Nor answer. When the holy Christ was born
He came alone, with but His Father’s Word
To hear and answer Him. And yet His Voice
Remains to bless the world along with me
Who would remember that His Word is mine.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 24
Section 14. What Am I?
I am God’s Son, complete and healed and whole, shining in the reflection of His Love. In me is His creation sanctified and guaranteed eternal life. In me is love perfected, fear impossible, and joy established without opposite. I am the holy home of God Himself. I am the Heaven where His Love resides. I am His holy Sinlessness Itself, for in my purity abides His Own.
Our use for words is almost over now. Yet in the final days of this one year we gave to God together, you and I, we found a single purpose that we shared. And thus you joined with me, so what I am are you as well. The truth of what we are is not for words to speak of nor describe. Yet we can realize our function here, and words can speak of this and teach it, too, if we exemplify the words in us.
We are the bringers of salvation. We accept our part as saviors of the world, which through our joint forgiveness is redeemed. And this, our gift, is therefore given us. We look on everyone as brother, and perceive all things as kindly and as good. We do not seek a function that is past the gate of Heaven. Knowledge will return when we have done our part. We are concerned only with giving welcome to the truth.
Ours are the eyes through which Christ’s vision sees a world redeemed from every thought of sin. Ours are the ears that hear the Voice for God proclaim the world as sinless. Ours the minds that join together as we bless the world. And from the oneness that we have attained we call to all our brothers, asking them to share our peace and consummate our joy.
We are the holy messengers of God who speak for Him, and carrying His Word to everyone whom He has sent to us, we learn that it is written on our hearts. And thus our minds are changed about the aim for which we came, and which we seek to serve. We bring glad tidings to the Son of God, who thought he suffered. Now is he redeemed. And as he sees the gate of Heaven stand open before him, he will enter in and disappear into the Heart of God.
My sinless brother is my guide to peace.
My sinful brother is my guide to pain.
And which I choose to see I will behold.
Who is my brother but Your holy Son? And if I see him sinful I proclaim myself a sinner, not a Son of God; alone and friendless in a fearful world. Yet this perception is a choice I make, and can relinquish. I can also see my brother sinless, as Your holy Son. And with this choice I see my sinlessness, my everlasting Comforter and Friend beside me, and my way secure and clear. Choose, then, for me, my Father, through Your Voice. For He alone gives judgment in Your Name.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #347: As a student of A Course in Miracles, I am finding the Christmas holiday season more and more difficult and depressing with each passing year. How do I reconcile the desire to want to take part in and be joyous and of good cheer during this time of the year which to me only seems to validate the special message and the meaning my ego has given to this season? It’s like a tug of war: on the one hand wanting to make Jesus special for his “holy birth,” and on the other hand wanting to make me special for not wanting to take part in the holiday. I am trying not to judge the holiday but rather feel apathetic towards it. Can you help me see this differently?
A: As our understanding of the Course deepens, we begin to see the meaninglessness of the world’s values and beliefs, including those most “sacred,” such as Christmas. To the ego this is depressing, for the ego wants nothing more than to have “divine” validation. What greater proof that the world is real and we are in it, than to have God send His Son into the world to redeem it? Challenging this belief, therefore, is extremely threatening to the ego. The conflict you describe is very common, and is inevitable as long as meaning is sought in the meaningless. If the Christmas holiday celebration were not endowed with any “holy” significance (it has none), nor seen as any different from other simple pleasures one may enjoy in the world, there would be no need to respond to it any differently than an enjoyable day at the beach. Engaging in the activities of the season is not the problem, and being apathetic to them is not the solution. It is the desire that the ego’s insanity be true, and that salvation be found in the multitude of substitutes made up specifically to exclude God and deny truth, that reinforces guilt and causes the conflict you describe. Learning this is a process, and Christmas is a perfect classroom in which to recognize the deep investment we have in defending our identity as bodies and proving we are right. Thinking we are bodies in the world, and that Christmas, among many other things, will make us happy, is what actually makes us deeply miserable. Our true hope lies in accepting that we do not know who we are, nor what will make us happy. We may then be willing to accept the Holy Spirit’s definition of Who we are as God’s one Son, and find happiness in knowing our true Identity.
In themselves, the gifts, lights, and symbols of Christmas made by the ego to glorify specialness are nothing. In fact, Jesus uses many of these same symbols in the Course to teach us the opposite of the ego’s message of separation and specialness. The mistake is believing they themselves have the power to make us truly happy or give us the peace we seek. It is this belief that causes the distress you describe. Hope for a peaceful holiday lies in the willingness to look at these illusory beliefs, without judging them as anything but illusory.
We give ourselves a true gift when we do what Jesus tells us: “This Christmas give the Holy Spirit everything that would hurt you” (T.15.XI.3:1). What hurts us is identifying with the ego thought system. “It’s the thought that counts” is a common refrain in reference to holiday gift giving. It applies aptly here since it is indeed our mistaken thoughts that are transformed when given to the Holy Spirit, thereby bringing us immense relief from the madness of the ego’s lies. It is thus possible to take part in the holiday celebration, seeing it as yet another classroom to learn the Holy Spirit’s lessons of forgiveness rather than to reinforce the ego’s specialness. In this spirit we can find peace this Christmas season, while participating in the celebrations in whatever way seems fitting.