Unity and Advent: Looking Inward

Unity has historically viewed the season of Advent as an inner search of mind and heart.

Cofounder Charles Fillmore spoke of Unity and Advent in a January 24, 1923, radio broadcast called “Christ Mind, the Second Coming of Christ.” He shared his thoughts on his understanding that “Christ is an idea in divine mind,” and highlighted the universality of the Christ, the divine essence that dwells in every human being.

“Like the idea of mathematics or music or any of the exact sciences, there is an idea of a perfect Christ in divine mind,” he told the (Unity station) WOQ audience.

Fillmore said people with preconceived, human notions of the “second coming” are bound to be disillusioned. “They are simply looking in the wrong place to discover the Advent,” he said.

Once you understand the spiritual character of Christ’s second coming, he said, then you find Christ within yourself.

Fillmore drove home his understanding of true Advent in an apocryphal story about a follower of William Miller (1782–1849). Miller had prophesied that Jesus’ second coming would occur between 1843 and 1844.

The story he shared was about a farmer who was a Millerite follower. The man put on his ascension robe and climbed up on a stack of hay to await the second coming, and he fell asleep there. Mischievous boys saw him slumbering, struck a match to the haystack and it went up in flames. When the man suddenly awakened he yelled out: “Resurrection morn, and I am in hell, just as expected.”

Fillmore found within the story the precise problem of human expectations. The human understanding of Advent was a personal construct rather than a truthful, divine one. Instead, Fillmore taught, it is “a metaphysical fact, according as you think in your heart so are you.”

He concluded that there is such a thing as a “Christ consciousness.”

He assured his listeners that the kingdom of God is within you, and that the more we search for that inner kingdom and comply with the law, the more we will know about the second coming. The second coming, Fillmore said, “is here right now.”

Relating his prayer discipline to Advent, Fillmore added that the joy of his life is this inner communion. “It is a perfect ecstasy.” He focused on his inner life as “the most enticing thing in the world.” In this inner frontier, he said he found a clearer understanding of Advent.

More recently, Unity publications have described Advent as a season of hope, renewal, and change. It is a time away from the many obstacles that impede spiritual growth and immerse ourselves in the one Presence.

The word adventure, which means “an unusual and stirring experience,” comes from the same Latin root word for Advent. The Unity booklet, The Promise of Christmas, Advent 1994, said the vast and uncharted frontier for the Advent experience is that which exists within. To search for the Advent of Jesus Christ means to embark on an adventure of spiritual introspection.

The Treasures of the Archives series is a regular feature highlighting the extensive digital records, data, and artifacts collection held at Unity Archives, located at Unity World Headquarters.