Rosicrucian Writings Online

[H. Spencer Lewis]

[From The Rosicrucian Digest December 1932]
WE ARE approaching the holiday season when the majority of the people of the Western World give vent to all of their pent-up emotions, so far as great celebrations are concerned, and religious and human brotherhood relations are concerned.
Whether we are Christians or not in no way affects our appreciation of the spirit of Christmas, and, of course, a month before the Christmas holiday is the popular Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, and immediately after Christmas falls the New Year holiday, which is very widely recognized and celebrated in most countries of the Western World. Therefore, between the 25th of November and the 2nd of January our lives, our social affairs, business and personal interests, and other matters are greatly affected by the almost universal spirit of celebration, good will, and human joyousness.
Whether we can enter into the Christian spirit of accepting the 25th day of December as the birthday of Jesus the Christ, or not, the fact remains that Jews and Gentiles and many others of other religions accept this day as a time of good will to all beings. December 25th, as we have stated before in this department of the magazine, was a time for good will, and the giving of gifts, and the bringing of joy into the human consciousness long before Jesus the Christ was born. Among the many festive days of the pagans and among the many holidays of those religious and non-religious peoples who preceded the Christian era, December the 25th was the most outstanding and most important of all. There are many things which indicate that when the great fathers of the Christian church were perplexed at deciding upon the precise date of the birth of Jesus the Christ, they were influenced by the fact that December 25th had always been a holiday typical of the Christian spirit and would, therefore, be most appropriate.
The spirit of that ancient holiday is reflected in every feature of our present day Christmas time. In pre-Christian years prisoners then in bondage were set free on the eve of December 25th, and throughout the day people exchanged gifts, readings, and every symbol and sign of good will was expressed. Today the spirit of Christmas is something that is always separate and apart from the sacred celebration of the birth of the Great Savior. As we have already said even those peoples whose religious beliefs do not permit them to keep the sectarian holiness of the day, find in it an opportunity for the definite expression of the spirit of good will and human fellowship that is very broadly and quite uniquely the true expression of the Christ spirit.
Modern civilization has become quite accustomed to systematizing its emotions and organizing its human expressions. There are millions of persons who labor throughout the year, and who need a periodical vacation from their labors in order to rest and recuperate. Many of these are worthy of such rest and vacation at almost any period of the year, and for no good reason at all postpone the needed vacation until the summer months, solely because we have become accustomed to organizing even our vacations and rest periods, and by common consent have selected June, July, and August as the months in which to regain and renew the worn-out vitality of mind and body. The idea of setting apart just one day late in the fall to give thanks to God and the heavenly hosts for all of our blessings is but another evidence of our ritualistic formalities in things that should be free from ritualism entirely.
For no reason that is sane and sensible, January 1st has been selected as the beginning of the year. It is, in fact, neither the beginning nor the end of a year or of a season. It is midseason, midwinter in most places in the northern hemisphere, and far removed from the rebirth of the year, and the rebirth of life throughout nature as made manifest in or about the Spring equinox in March. In many oriental countries the month of March is looked upon as the proper time for the celebration of the beginning of a new year, for it is not only the beginning of a new season but the beginning of new life after the long sleep and transition of nature throughout the winter. And so it is with the spirit of good will and of good fellowship; instead of expressing this good will to all beings throughout the year and seeking every opportunity to give to those who are in need and to bring happiness and joy to others who are in sorrow, and singing the songs of life everlasting to those who are Cosmically and spiritually asleep, we wait for Christmas day to do those things which might be done on any day of the year.
Perhaps there are some utilitarian and practical benefits to be derived from the working and systematizing of our emotions and the expression of our desires. Perhaps by concentrating such expressions into one brief period of a day, or two or three days, we are more efficient and more definite in what we do. Perhaps the fact that December 25th is so universally looked upon as a time of good will induces us to express the goodness in our hearts more completely, and with greater significance than we would do under different circumstances. If this is an argument in favor of organized and ritualistic emotional expression then we should be logical enough to prove it and to do it. Therefore, I say to those who withhold from others throughout the year the good will they should express and who restrain themselves in the impulses to give and share with others what they have, that on Christmas day or throughout the festive week following it every effort should be made to unburden oneself of the pent-up and restrained expressions of the entire year.
Unquestionably, each one of us owes something to others, and unquestionably each one of us is enjoying benefits and blessings that we can share with others and should do so. The Cosmic law of compensation and the universal law of supply and demand requires that we not only give thanks for what we have, but that we look upon ourselves as trustees for the Cosmic dispensation of blessings. God and all of nature require human channels through which the great work of the universal benedictions can be carried out. Each one of us is a channel, therefore, for the dissemination of that which God intends each of us to enjoy. Certainly joy and happiness are the most essential things in life, often enjoyed in abundance by many, but found wanting in the lives of many more. I need not pose as a prophet, nor phrase my words as a prediction when I say that next Christmas day there will be millions in our own environment and close to each one of us who will find in that day nothing more than a day of ordinary experiences fraught with solitude, despondency, gloom, sorrow, want, and regret. Without leaving our immediate neighborhoods and also without doing more than cross the street, we can find someone on that day whose picture of life will be the very opposite of our own. Just how any one of us can feel the fullness of Christmas joy and be as extremely happy as we should be while across the street or around the corner there is someone in want or in sorrow, in sadness and grief, is something I cannot understand.
We speak of desiring to have the Christ Consciousness developed within us. Even those who are not essentially Christians admit that the presence of the Christ Consciousness would be not only desirable, but the maximum of their earthly desires. Yet if there was any one outstanding emotion made manifest by the living Christ on earth it was the consciousness of the sorrow of the world. He constantly expressed the thought that He sensed and was highly sensitive of the grief, the pain, the bitterness resting in the hearts of those around Him and throughout the world. He was a man of sorrows, not because of personal experiences, but because of the consciousness of the experiences of the millions of human beings around Him. How then, can any of us expect to have or feel that we do have the least degree of Christ Consciousness within us and yet be immune to the sorrows of the world, and restrained from sharing our happiness or our blessings with those who do not have them?
If we would get the utmost out of the Christmas spirit this year, or any other year, and if we would live a life that would exemplify the Christ Consciousness within us, we will seek as the ideal Christ sought, and as the ideal of Christ within us would seek to find opportunity, occasion, ways, and means of bringing some happiness and joy, some relief, some bright light of hope and cheer into the lives of those who do not have these things either at Christmas time or any other time of the year.
Therefore, make this Christmas a true Christian spirit holy day by sharing with others to some small degree at least that which you have an abundance of, even if it be but happiness and the smiles of joy with those who do not have them, and in this way make Christmas come true, independent of its religious significance, independent of its sectarian meaning, and uniquely and wholly in the spirit of the ideal that it exemplifies.

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