Dec 25, 2020

Dear Church Family,
We had a once-in-a-life time (or many life times) experience this week when Jupiter and Saturn come into alignment in the sky. It has been said Saturn “is the planet of time and in its highest sense, it helps us realize that we are eternal, and we are one with the Universe as we come from stardust. (We literally are made of molecules which had to have passed through numerous stars to even exist.) Metaphysically Jupiter is the father of life, ether, and all living things. Saturn = eternity + Jupiter = life. Together they represent Eternal life. The two planets together create a very bright star, that we believe was the Star of Bethlehem which shone brightly the night the Christ Child was born.  The Magi followed the star, believing it was an omen portending greatness. It did, it heralded a new paradigm that offered humanity eternal life.
I was always struck by the gifts from the Magi: gold, frankincense and myrrh. We all know the physical value of gold as a precious earthly metal. Metaphysically gold represents spiritual gifts and omnipresence of substance that we bring into manifestation through our thinking and feeling natures. Frankincense was a tree resin – used as an incense. We burn incense at altars – it represents spirit and our spiritual self. Myrrh was also a tree resign used in rituals for anointing. It represents eternity. These gifts were appropriate to be given to a king. A king would not expect practical things. There is a modern humor that says if the Magi were women, they would have brought disposable diapers, baby wipes and formula. These would be very practical gifts for a new mother.
It is unknown what the Magi carried with them as they traveled. But the gifts they brought to Mary and Joseph to honor their baby came from what they packed. Afterall, we do not know what sort of items were available to purchase or trade along the way. My favorite gift to honor new babies is a quilt that I made especially for them. Quilts are both practical, can be beautiful and, to me, they are a form of prayer. They are a physical manifestation of a prayer for them.
I sometimes wonder what I would have presented to the Christ Child if I had been there or if Jesus was born today? Cash or a gift card is the most popular and easiest gift to give. Would I give cash? Would I “see” or “understand” the significance of his/her birth. Ah, yes, what if the Christ Child is a girl? 
And now I ask what gifts do I present to the Christ today as I celebrate its birth? Yes, the actual birth of Christ Child has passed over two millennium ago, but the Christ Spirit is alive today in each of us. What gift do we present today as we renew the birth of this divine spirit in our hearts and mind?
Is it a gift befitting royalty or is it something meant to assist raising a child? There is no judgement here, only the question. Each of us are raising our consciousness. And the practical measures to do so is through our spiritual practices. For those of us who bring the gift of prayer and meditation we offer peace to our Christ Spirit. When we bring gifts of forgiveness and gratitude, we offer wholeness. What about the practice of praise, affirmations and denials? These bring forth strength and enhance God’s power within. Strength and personal power weren’t mentioned in the Advent story – but these are our gifts, so we can utilize our power of imagination to construct the story to work for us.    When we offer gifts of Generosity and Giving, we bring Faith and seeds for the future. When we bring gifts of kindness and compassion, we demonstrate Love. And when we offer gifts of happiness and celebration, we raise our hearts and minds in Joy to our Christ Spirit. 
Remember to present your gifts to your inner Christ Child. Make it a practice. Your world will change because of it.
Merry Christmas!
Pastor Robert