In fact, working with our nighttime visions shows what a thin vale exists between this life and the next life — or lives in alternative dimensions. Not only do the dead appear, at times, in our dreams as persons, healthy and whole, but we ourselves often appear to be transformed in our dream lives. We accomplish, risk, gamble, and experience more of life than in our waking states. Truth be told, while I lovingly and gratefully embrace this life, my dream life is much more intriguing and expansive. In my dreams, I am often capable of things I could never accomplish in this life. I travel, without expense or hassle, to places I’ve never been, and I have encounters with characters and animals that would never appear in my conscious world. The psyche, as Carl Jung pointed out, is limit-less. We are but dots in an infinite sea of unconsciousness. So maybe the hereafter is merely an extension of what is already here.
I confess that I skipped church this morning. I am now at home alone, except for the dogs who are sleeping and the gentle music of Christmas played on the stereo by guitars, dulcimers, and violins. Presents lie about our humble Christmas tree, some already wrapped and others awaiting their decorative coverings. Sarah is out shopping, and this afternoon we will unpack our new dinner china — an investment we made together that seems to be a telling sign that our new marriage is “taking.” Poinsettias need arranging, and in the morning on Christmas Eve, we’ll head over to the Fresh Market to pick up the seven live lobsters we ordered to help feed part of our extended and blended families tomorrow night.
All of this because of the incredible idea of “God with us — Emmanuel.” God with us not just on Christmas Day and not just in our lifetime, but forever and for always, in this life and in lives to come. And God with us, not just for us alone, but for every scared young woman — like young Mary — who is worried about a surprise pregnancy and what it bodes for her future; and for every man, young and old, whose future — like Joseph’s — has been turned upside down by events and decisions beyond his control. And God with us for some twenty very young children in Connecticut whose lives were taken suddenly and mercilessly. For their grieivng families. And for Syrian refugees, and yes, even for power-crazed leaders who have yet to meet the God of compassion, grace, and peace.
The infinite pscyhe connects us to all: to both the great Mystery of our individual lives as well as to the global and universal soul to which we all, inextricably, belong.
God with us, and Merry Christmas to you and yours.