2002-12-20-What Does Christmas Mean

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Topic: What Does Christmas Mean

Group: Pocatello TeaM

Facilitators

Teacher: Daniel, Aaron, Klarixiska

TR: Bill K.

Session

Opening

Daniel(Bill): May the joy of Christmas fill all our hearts to overflowing. May the love that came down and incarnated carry us beyond ourselves and out to the rest of the world with the good news. May tonight's gathering produce festive hearts, enlightened minds, and dedicated souls. I am Daniel. These are my thoughts. Let us pray.

May we tonight in our camaraderie be a part of the process of filling each other's hearts to overflowing. May we let down the barriers that would dim our understanding of each other as brother and sister and sit at the feet of Michael, once again, through His appointed teachers. May the love which is resident in our hearts take flight with wings of joy and touch everyone else, today, and always. Amen.

Aaron(Bill): Hello, my friends. I am Aaron. To celebrate this Christmas season I desire that you share your selves in a round robin format, once again. We haven't done this for a while and I just would like to hear from you all as to what this season of Advent/Christmas means to you at this point in your life. Try not to be stereotypical in your answer. Be honest. If you have negative feelings for good reasons, please let them be manifest. If you simply cannot put into words your feelings, of course, we don't use negative reinforcement. You will not be punished or shamed by any of us. This is a free will exercise.

Exercise

Before we begin I, once again tell you, this is a part of the morontial educational process in which communication has to be more than the uttering of words or the gossip of the time, or formulas that hide their meaning behind the words. I would have you do one other thing. In order to still your minds and your hearts, please relax in your chairs, take a deep breath and exhale. Turn your hearts toward your beloved Mystery Monitors, your Thought Adjusters, and allow His/Her love to flow through your words. Are there any questions you need to ask? Very well, let us begin with Carol and go around the circle clockwise. Isaac will be last. Go ahead.

Carol: Well, I think as Bob and I were discussing today, I think it would be good if we had to celebrate Christmas once a month! Sometimes it jerks us into reality about the things that we kind of take for granted, that we overlook, things that we skim over. It brings to mind things that we need to focus on, that we don't do enough of. Also, one of the joys for me is family and a chance to be closer to them during this time and feel that closeness.

Aaron: Thank you Carol. And now Bob, what does Christmas mean to you today?

Bob S.: Damn, you talk good! Let's get married. (Laughter) [Ed. Note: They are married!]

Virginia: This is going out to a thousand people, Bob.

Bob D.: You are recorded in history.

Bob S.: The traditional Christmas always has been a big deal for me. When I became a part of Carol's family it became even bigger because their tradition was even bigger than my own. I have always loved to get presents. (Laughter) It's one thing I never outgrew. I am still a child in many ways. I have become convinced, however, we probably are too much into the material side of Christmas and we need to try and get away from that. That's going to be difficult for me because I don't want to do that. (Laughter). I like the old ways. But I suspect when the granddaughters get older, and they are teenagers now, I suspect our families will move away from the old traditional giving of gifts and we will try to find some other way to celebrate that doesn't involved so much the giving of gifts, material things, but is more the giving of something else. I am not sure what form that will take. But that's what I see happening in my life.

Lori: Hmm. I don't know. I try to figure out what Christmas is supposed to mean in the last six or seven years, and learn new things it is supposed to mean, because me, I just didn't get it. It is supposed to mean something more than something else and I didn't get it! So the last couple of Christmases, maybe four, we've tried to establish traditions with Morgan and Hannah, something we never did in my family, with Advent, with sharing, and quiet time together, and baking. I think I am in the process of inventing what it all means and trying to sculpt into something more than just material, which is what it was for our little nuclear family. It was really fun, though! But it left me as an adult with the feeling that there was more to it, but I just didn't know what it was. So, last year it meant spending time together as a family. This year we have done a lot of that because of home schooling. So, here again, it is different this year. So, back to...I don't really know.Aaron: Thank you, Lori, for your honesty and comfort in expressing ambiguous feelings. The discovery of value is one of the major quests of the ascension career. So, to be unsure is not a deficit. It suggests you are in a growth process. And Bob, a belated thank you for your contribution. My TR had his eyes open and was not listening to me. Virginia, your turn has come. What does Christmas mean to you today?

Virginia: Well, certainly the traditions that our family has, I really appreciate. I love having the Advent setup and our Christmas eve of listening to the "A Christmas Carol" by Dickens for 35 years, which is very meaningful, warms my heart, and still makes me cry. I realize that the words that I had put on a Christmas card to one of my former aids this week is really the Dickens Christmas Carol. What I have set up in my own tradition, in that when I am doing Christmas baking, I am listening to the "Forgotten Carol". It is wonderful! It warms my heart and makes me cry. My aid had given me this story about ten years ago and in the note I sent to her I said that the transformation of Constance Louise to Connie Lou is what Christmas is all about. I think that is the transformation that takes place for Scrooge and it can take place in our own lives if we realize the impact of how God expressed Himself in Christmas.

Aaron: So, for you, Virginia, Christmas is transformation?

Virginia: Every moment I need it, yeah.

Aaron: Thank you very much for your cogent expressive words. Kenneth, what does Christmas mean for you today?

Ken: It means I get to celebrate the birth of Christ twice! In August and now. Although in August it doesn't have the materialism that this one does. At this time of the year, and I think my wife would agree, I become a little bit of a Scrooge. But I am changing as I look for the positive attitude, the positive things that do take place. I think I see that this year at Christmas in the world as a whole. Those that seek for the same thing that we seek for on August 21st, and that is personality balance. I see this and this is what I work for. This is what I look for.

Aaron: Thank you, Ken. Your comments are most interesting, for by observing the birth of Christ twice in a year you were able to focus on the spiritual meaning, the real meaning unencumbered by materialism, and then later on you can enjoy the festivities of the season, as well.

Ken: That's what I meant to say. Yeah. (Laughter) Thank you, Aaron.

Aaron: I understood you, my friend. (Laughter)

Ken: I am glad you did. I didn't. (More laughter).

Bob S.: Having your cake and eating it too!

Aaron: To use the words of our friend, Gerdean, it is the pleasure of the anticipation and the pleasure of the fulfillment at the same time. [Ed. Note: a concept in the "Zooid Mission", which she authored] Wonderful concept. Marty, what does Christmas mean for you these days?

Marty: Probably some of what has already been said. The last couple three or four years we have tried to work towards getting away from materialism and more toward giving ourselves through hand made things, or trying something like that. I particularly agree with Carol that, without needing Christmas once a month, but some of the ideas of helping others who are less fortunate, helping those that don't have family or whatever. That definitely needs to be done more. That, to me, is one of the big parts of Christmas.

Then I think this year what is on the minds of people is the peace of the earth, whether it will continue or whether we will be in war; what will happen that way; and that whatever is the right answer will come about. That is one thing that is a big thing on my mind right now.

Aaron: Thank you Marty. You have underlined a very important concept in that Christmas reminds of our brotherhood and sisterhood. To prevent war and stay in peace would foster the understanding that we are all related. It is a difficult time, however, for this reason. I will pose a question to the group when we conclude our sharing. I will not require that you all respond to it. It has come to my mind and I wish to share it with you.Now, Pat, what does Christmas mean to you?

Pat: I think I love Christmas! (Laughter)

Ken: She does!

Pat: The joy part of it, family, and certainly how wonderful and fortunate that we had Christ Michael come to our planet. It's a real nice reminder at this time of year. So with that and the way people do come together and help other people who are not as fortunate. It just is a good time of year.

Aaron: Thank you, my dear, for expressing one of the big themes, the sense of joy that pervades the season for you, for various reasons as you have described them. And yet the joy that this planet was host to the Creator of this universe is something that you will know more of when you leave the mortal spheres. The celestial administration of this planet truly rejoiced, not only the angels in Bethlehem, but the entire planetary administration. So there is this sense of joy at this time which isn't just from human feelings alone, but comes from that anniversary recognition of Michael's great loving act of incarnation. Bob, what does Christmas mean to you these day, my good buddy? (Chuckling)

Bob D.: I would say that right now Christmas means I can breathe! It's kind of like the first time since summer that I can actually relax and not have to think about school and work, especially my job which I quit today. For me it is almost like a relief that Christmas is here, not necessarily for the positive reasons. All in all, Christmas has been a stressful time of year for me in the sense that it never quite reaches the ideal of what I wish the season would be. Having a dysfunctional family and having to spend time with that family. Loving them all the same, but having all sorts of communication behaviors that especially now I don't resonate toward as I did earlier in my life. Having to spend the week with them is not necessarily my idea of what I think Christmas should be, which is a time to rejoice in the experience of having our Savior come here on our planet and be able to recognize good will toward other people and peace on earth, those things which are in flux right now. So, it seems like we are in a fearful time on our planet. So, while I can rest easy in my own personal life for having a break, it seems like there are a lot of other things in the world where I almost want to take and look at Christmas this year as my home place and see where I am not going in the directions I want to be, to redirect and start anew so that I see it as a new beginning, a rededication to certain things. But yet, I still see the stressors out there. What it means, I guess, I don't really have a specific answer. I hope what I have said gives you some idea what I contemplate when I think about Christmas.

Aaron: Rather than saying you have no specific answer I compliment you on the multitude of images that you verbalized. Have you realized that when Michael come to this planet to be Jesus, he was coming to a dysfunctional family? (Surprised comments from group) That was love, that He chose Urantia, probably as the most dysfunctional planet in His Universe. So I commend you on your perspective with your family and I also say that you are building a functional family with your children and your spouse. As Christmas proceeds I predict you will more and more flourish in the functionality and the love of your family setting. But it is wise and loving of you to still stay connected to your dysfunctional family, even as Michael is still connected to this one. In fact, we all here to help this dysfunctional aspect to diminish and finally be eradicated, as you know. Well, Isaac, it is your turn.

Bill/Isaac: Everything that has been said I share to some extent. I think in my childhood Christmas was the high time of the year. Especially I remember one Christmas morning when my sister and I had gone to bed with dreams of Santa Claus in our wee little heads, and we believed it. There was no Christmas tree in the house. The next morning we crept downstairs and it must have been around five or six o'clock in the morning. Here was this gorgeous Christmas tree which had appeared as though by magic, hung with tinsel and paper chains while underneath the tree was this train track and a sled standing against the wall! That is a totally materialistic thing but it was just wonderful. We had the family things. We went to the Christmas dinner over at the grandparents house, the big family thing. But I knew it was a special time for some reason. As a child I mainly enjoyed it because of the toys, but also the sense of family. I wasn't in a very functional family either.

But what does it mean to me now? Right now it means what we are doing tonight, having friendships and experiences with people on a level I never knew when I was younger. When I was in the ministry I had a vague idea that that was what I wanted to do, to have this kind of family experience, and to some extent that happened. But it was nothing like what it is now. Like Virginia, I like the scenery of this house. I love the snow outside and the opportunities for sledding on the driveway and skiing, if we get a little more snow; and having people over and having their kids come and share in all of that. I also have a Scrooge part of me that grouches about the materialistic thing. I guess that's it.

Lesson

Aaron: Thank you, Isaac, for sharing your progression from materialistic joy to brotherly/sisterly joy. I would say to you all, remember on the mansion worlds you still have material environments. You still have domiciles, homes, places that are yours, that the "material" side of life is not to be despised. It is not a question of spiritual versus material. It is a question of value and seeking first the reign of God in your heart. Then the material things will find their rightful place and your needs will be provided. I have decided to retract my question. I will comment on what I was thinking.

As some of you were talking about withdrawing from such an emphasis on material things and looking more to the spiritual meaning of Christmas, I mused that in a culture that is based on an economic system depending upon growth in order to provide profit, how will your reaction, etc., affect your comfort in the future, if a decline in materialistic consumption continues to depress your economy? This was going to be my question. But I will answer it. The inevitable result of a materialistic ascension is to reach a point of decline. In advancing cultures on other planets the service motive, which is the thing that most of you have emphasized in your remarks, the service motive increases as the profit motive declines. People adjust to living more simply. The understanding that needs and wants are not identical becomes clearer. As philosophy, religion, and spirituality gain more and more approval and support in these advancing cultures, there are not the withdrawal symptoms which occur in a culture totally materialistically oriented when it fails to continue its upward ascent.

Right now your country is contemplating a war, as you know. Pray, my friends, that the circumstances which are bringing this about, both the objective facts and the subjective interpretations may be inclined toward peace and away from the shedding of innocent blood. Pray also for these descendents of two brothers whose sibling rivalry has escalated into a catastrophic tension. I refer to the decedents of Isaac and Ishmael, their sons and daughters. Pray that those who have peaceful hearts will be heard, that they will have the courage to speak out and that the wisdom of the great people of this last century will be listened to once again. May peace on earth, good will among men, indeed, come about. Thank you for participating with me. This has been most wonderful. Let us stand now and conclude.

Klarixiska would like to close our meeting, if Virginia will transmit, otherwise, Isaac will.

Closing

Klarixiska(Virginia): God of peace, God of love, God of justice, God of mercy, God of holiness that knows not the turmoil of sin and evil except as He sees His children: We would pray that this God would put these attributes within the motivation of all who call Him "Father". We would pray that the words of peace on earth would become a reality. We would pray that each would be able to take the hand of the one next to him/her in honest belief that they together make up the family of God. Hear our prayer, Oh God, and help us to make Your love a reality on this planet. So be it. Amen.

(It was suggested to conclude the meeting by singing the Christmas Carol "I heard the bells on Christmas Day"which was done) Here is the text:

I heard the bells on Christmas day

their old familiar carols play

and mild and sweet the words repeat

of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how as the day had come,

the belfries of all Christendom

had roll'd along th' unbroken song

of peace on earth good will to men.

And in despair I bow'd 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."

'Til 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!