18Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
23”Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
  and they shall name him Emmanuel”,
which means, “God is with us.” 24When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son;* and he named him Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25)


I'm curious how the Christmas story would be interpreted metaphysically.


There are actually two different Christmas stories (not counting popular later add-ons like the Little Drummer Boy, Santa and Rudolph). Matthew and Luke differ in significant ways in their versions of the birth of Jesus. Matthew traces Jesus' roots back to Abraham to emphasize his role as the Jewish Messiah. Luke traces him all the way back to Adam, to emphasize the universal importance of his life and message. Matthew says the birth was in Bethlehem because that's where Mary and Joseph lived. He has them fleeing from Bethlehem to Egypt to escape Herod, then later returning and deciding to live in Nazareth because it was a safer distance from Jerusalem. Luke says they lived in Nazareth, went to Bethlehem for a census (although there is no Roman record of a census taken at that time) and were forced to stay in a manger. Luke has the shepherds, Matthew has the Wise Men.

  The point is neither author was intending anything like an accurate, historical description of an event. Neither was either deliberately fudging facts. They were both—in their own ways and for their own readerships—telling the “spiritual truth” about an event of tremendous significance—an event whose importance could never be expressed or understood with a simple recitation of human facts. Both Jewish and Greek traditions were filled with stories of “miraculous” births. It was an accepted and effective way of alerting people that someone important had come on the scene. In our collective consciousness we have understood that through the years. We cheerfully ignore the inherent conflicts between the two versions and weave them together into one magical Christmas story—with shepherds and Wise Men and angels and animals, and a stable and an angry king—and yes, a drummer boy if we feel like adding one. We intuitively know that the story is really being told at a deeper level.   So what is the story about, metaphysically? Some say it's about the birth of the Christ, but that's not possible. The Christ is the Light and Love of God, present in each of us. It is our true spiritual identity, the creative Power of God seeking to express through us. It is, therefore, as eternal as God—it can't be born.   What can be born, however, is our awareness of our true Christ nature. And what can be—and is—reborn every Christmas is our personal surrender, allowing more of the Christ to begin to express through us. We can believe—or not—that Mary was a mortal virgin; it really doesn't matter. It is metaphysically true that the birth of Christ awareness is always a Virgin Birth. Its source is never the tangible world around us; our willingness is embraced and implanted by divine awareness. It's interesting that the two men involved in the story—Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, in Luke, and Joseph the husband of Mary in Matthew—both try to understand things from a limited human perspective. Zechariah “knows” that Elizabeth is too old to give birth. Joseph “knows” that if Mary is pregnant, it's not by him and she must have been unfaithful. Both are visited by angels—symbols of divine guidance—assuring them that what is occurring, while not believable to mortal minds, is an expression of divine Presence.   So metaphysically what we celebrate each Christmas is not the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, and not the birth of the Christ, but the birth of Christ awareness. What Jesus brought to us was a spark of new light, new possibility—light that shines through the darkness of human confusion and illuminates the spiritual truth of who we are. And it doesn't just happen once. Every Christmas is a new birth—a new opportunity for each of us to give birth to more of the light—and to commit ourselves to nurturing that light, trusting it, believing in its Presence within us, sending it forth with every choice we make to bring more of itself into expression—to create more, and more again, of the new consciousness with which we each of us is miraculously pregnant—the consciousness Jesus describes as “the kingdom of heaven.”   Blessings!

Rev. Ed  


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