It is nighttime, and I am standing in an open field with others as I catch a glimpse, from the corner of my eye, of a bright stream of light in the eastern sky. I turn to face the light, while I watch in amazement as it expands and approaches at tremendous speed. More bright lights, meteors, follow, and they pass over us creating a sense of awe and terror at the same time. I look back to the east and see more meteors hurtling towards the distant horizon. These meteors, for certain, are headed for earth where they will create untold destruction.
Meteors may represent those split-off, forgotten, or barely conscious parts of the Self that wander aimlessly within the inner cosmos of every soul. Once part of our original wholeness, their beauty and their capacity for creating terror and destruction are equal. So, when they suddenly appear, there is a sense of awe in the face of their numinous presence. Just as God is described as both ultimate beauty and love as well as something to fear (“The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom….”), meteors may represent what it is like when forgotten aspects of soul make their unexpected appearances. Whether our awareness of these eruptions into consciousness creates a moment of beauty and wonder or a moment of helplessness and fear is maybe a matter of how mindful we are. Can we slow down, look at them, journal, imagine, or integrate them through dreamwork or conversation with a trusted friend, partner, or counselor?
Christmas, also, is marked by the appearance of a Great Light in the eastern sky. On the one hand, the spectacle of a Star awakens us to something spiritual, while on the other hand, the birth of an infant to a young woman and her baffled husband in a humble stable creates a sense of wonder in the midst of something so simple and earthy. The Spirit and the simplicity of the Christmas story hover together in balance — heaven coming to earth offering hope for the world. Who would have imagined that something so small could create such a stir, such great expectations, and offer such a welcome opportunity for healing the suffering of all?
Jesus lived the life of wholeness, and he shows us a way for us to follow. If this child could talk, would he not say to us, “Individuation is possible!” We can progress towards wholeness when we follow his wisdom, his humility, his capacity to bear suffering, offer unconditional love, and resist the tendency to keep God’s grace at arms length. Instead of rejecting those who are different from us, we can, through God’s loving grace, use differences to work on reclaiming parts of our selves. Of course, this isn’t easy. When forgotten parts of ourselves make sudden appearances, like meteors, we know too well how they can create havoc in our souls or in our relationships.
We all have the capacity for self-destructiveness and inflicting damage on Mother Earth through our selfishness and neglect. But Jesus shows us, too, our Original Goodness — the Light that is in us and among us that can create lives of beauty and healing. The least we can do at Christmas is stand in awe at the Sacredness of this time, the Sacredness of our own souls, and the challenge to be conscious of the Light that God gives us. Listen to the music, wonder at the stars, love with simplicity and grace, speak words of kindness, pray for the healing of Mother Earth, and honor the parts of soul that seek remembrance with hospitality, humility, and grace. In the words of Mary, “Let it be, Lord, unto me, according to Thy will….”