Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

The Blessings of Christmas

December 24, 2007

Christmas

December 24, 2007

One of my favorite carols is I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day – the poem by Longfellow set to music. In his poem, Longfellow captures the despair and the hope of a world at war – an individual in pain because of personal loss. He wrote this poem in 1864 – the Civil War was raging – His son had been injured in battle – His wife had died in a fire. The world around him was not a peaceful place! And yet through all of this pain and despair, he found the Source of All Things – He heard the bells pealing peace – reconciliation – forgiveness.
Here are the original seven verses written by Longfellow.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said:
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Several Christmases ago, I went to the Unity songbook to get the words and the page number for our Christmas service. I expected to find five verses in our songbook. Most modern version leave out the two verses specifically related to the Civil War:

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Today, it might be appropriate to add them back in, especially in those parts of our world where war is an every day thing.

I was astonished to see that there were only the first three verses in our song book. The two verses that speak of the despair and grief and that seem to make a judgment about Right and Wrong had also been taken out. Interestingly, this often happens in Unity. Thinking that we are following the Law of Mind Action and removing the “negative” thoughts and judgments, we cut out the grief, the pain, the despair, and the process of discerning. For me, what we are left with is often a veneer of smiles and goodness, a thin layer of ice that covers deep emotions and consequences of prior thoughts and actions that have not been processed and transmuted.

Now please don’t get me wrong – I do understand that when we hold “negative” thoughts in mind, we get more of the same. And that “judgment” when made from our personality can create error thought and actions. And yet to refuse to look beneath the ice to the swirling water is denial – and not in the way that Charles and Myrtle meant when they used the term. In my understanding of their writings, it is necessary that we recognize the situation, the issues, the apparent “reality” and only then are we able to “see” beyond appearance t the truth and how that truth can be restored.

When there is war in our world – bombs and bullets that are killing people – devastating hunger and starvation in a bountiful world – death from treatable diseases – violence in our streets and our homes – when all of this exists, to not feel a moment of despair and pain is to not be human. The power of the Law of Mind Action is that we can acknowledge the condition – the appearance – without accepting it as permanent. We can look deeper into the thought causes of these conditions – the thoughts of fear and lack – and we can, by replacing those thoughts with ones of love, bounty, unity, change these conditions. For as we change our perspective and thought, we will change our actions. As we shift the energy of a situation from fear to love, from lack to abundance, for death to life, we – and all those we touch – are changed.

For me, this is the spirit of Christmas! And so in this Christmas time, reach out to the infinite that is God – the Unity that includes the Duality – and as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow did in 1864 – hear the bells peal loud and down – Peace on Earth – Good will to all!