Everyday Bethlehem

JaneAnetrini_NEW2014.200x243We are approaching the season of Christmas. I am aware that there is the commercialization of the holiday and am also aware that some of the religions in the world that celebrate it have made the holy night of his birth about the coming of a child and have lost the message of his life. Many of the songs that are sung are about rejoicing that he has come to save the world. The more bizarre messages are that he was born to die for our sins, which disregards the beauty and invitation of his message and his life.

There is a beautiful song, “O Holy Night,” that celebrates his birth. The tone and words invite humbleness at the possibility of what might transpire now.

Fall on your knees,
O hear the angels’ voices.…

How beautiful! What might actually happen if the Christ spirit were born and welcomed and expressed by those who are aware of the opportunity presented? The shepherds and the angels knew something magnificent was coming. They prepared the way and held a holy atmosphere for his safe delivery in the midst of dangerous times. All of them assisted in what happened in Bethlehem then, and we can provide that now so that the Christ spirit may be born on this holy day (holiday).

These are the words in the Christmas card being sent out from Emissaries of Divine Light this year:

From the stillness at the heart of Creation,
Feel the ever-expanding field of Love.
It is the spirit of our Lord,
Being born into the world on this day.
May we be His Bethlehem.

In this part of the world we experience this holy day in the midst of winter. We have cold weather and snow and longer nights. When I walk in the morning I find the silence inviting me into communion with the holiness that is ready to be born. I can feel and think differently. I can be still and connected to the world in a way that isn’t as easy when the sun is up at 5 a.m. and the day is full of summertime activity.

Here is a poem by Robert Frost that captures some of that winter atmosphere: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening:

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

 My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year. 

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

It is different to spend this holy time in the midst of summer. People I know in the Southern Hemisphere do it every year. Finding this quiet communion can happen in the midst of that surround as well. A friend of mine wrote to me about the magic she was feeling in the midst of the woods last week, in a warmer part of the world.

Exploring the woods behind my sister’s house in Tennessee. Despite the roar of the highway—so close, here is found a council of fairies. A wonder in the mystery and the music of this incredible silence. Among these beings I know inexplicably that peace is both possible and that we need their help to make it so.

I have not had direct contact with fairies but I can feel the energy in her words that is so similar to my own. I feel deep peace and connection to a wholesome, holy world.

I performed a wedding ceremony yesterday for some very good friends of mine. I spoke some words about why they were getting married. They were taking a step from being together and loving each other to make a commitment to each other that was sanctified by the ceremony and the people in the room.

I asked the parents and daughters present, “Who has loved and supported Stephanie and offers her into the next part of her life?” They answered, “We have.” And then I asked the same of Darryl’s daughters, and they responded, “We have.” And then I asked the people in the room, and they all said, “We did, and we will.”

There is power in acknowledging that we have friends and support that have set us in motion to move into the next wonderful thing, and that those things will not go away as we step into it. The Christmas songs we sing often acknowledge that something wonderful happened and there is little acknowledgment of what was set in place to allow it to happen, or what was going to hold it once it did. When we step into the next wonderful thing, all of life, all of the love that has been present in our friends and in our relatives and in the people who have surrounded us, stays with us as we go into it. It doesn’t all drop away, leaving us on a new path without the support of the universe.

In the silence of these winter days I have felt my connection to all that has gone before and all that is before me. I stop in my tracks and listen and feel the wonder, just like Robert Frost did on that snowy evening. I notice how my heart feels the loving connection with all those who have gone before, who I have loved and are no longer present, and I feel the love and blessings I know of those who are here with me now.

I feel the presence of Bethlehem, the rich fertile space of wonder, a place where the spirit of the Christ can be born.

I hear the voices of angels that have been in your life and are in your life now, and in mine. So I invite you now to hear the voice of the Beloved within you, who also speaks through the angels in your life. I said in the blessing of my friends’ marriage that they will not ever be alone because the Lord will be with them and the Lord’s voice will be heard through each other and their friends. Remember that your friends are the way in which the gifts of the Lord are given to you. It is such a gift to have a wonderful life and then find a person or people who make it more wonderful.

That’s the fulfillment of a life. We don’t have to find a marriage partner to have that happen. We can declare in the presence of friends how wonderful it is that we have each other, to have this wonderful life. What a gift it is to have found conscious people who actually know what it’s like to bring holiness into their world and want to do it with you. Friends who care about providing Bethlehem, the place in ourselves that allows the Christ spirit to be born, that can be touched by all those who come into your atmosphere. When the people around you touch that place, they touch the generosity of your heart and they touch the invitation of your soul.

Sometimes when I’ve done a wedding ceremony, people say these two got lucky and found one another. I would like to say we’re the luckiest people in the world to have found not just one person but to find people all over the planet who are interested in everyday holiness and delivering the Christ spirit right here and now, wherever they are. I am thankful for a family of friends interested in allowing everything we do together to be holy. Thank you so much for what you provide for me, what you provide for the world, and what happens on this planet because we do it together. It’s exponential. This is a holy day. Every day is an opportunity to provide Bethlehem.

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Fiona Gawronsky
Fiona Gawronsky
December 14, 2015 3:30 am

Everyday Bethlehem is primal spirituality!
I was thinking about the ceremonies around the world of switching on the Christmas lights. I remember as a child being taken by my grandparents in London to see the lights in Oxford Street, the premier shopping of the West End. Not only lights but wonderful shop-windows to catch the eye. Now is the time to switch on my own lights! To bring my light into the world as Christ demonstrated.

Anne-Lise Bure
Anne-Lise Bure
December 13, 2015 5:24 am

Thank you, Jane, for your beautiful invitation to us and me, to take up in these holydays, the opportunity to provide “Bethlehem” everyday and every moment. I believe that we provided our World with that this morning during our Service time combined with UK and European Friends, and with Tessa at the Gate House Centre !

I join Andrew in sounding the intention that LOVE may be felt in every possible encounter and meeting with another.

As my year draws to a close this side, celebrating the harvest of all the wonderful aspects that were revealed, and giving thanks for those intentions and wishes not yet in full blossoming, knowing that True Gifts in Presence of the I AM are always at hand, and glad to continue in the discipline of discovering how to give Life to these sacred forms.

Happy to be participating in this sacred order of honourable companions.

Andrew Horwood
Andrew Horwood
December 12, 2015 1:09 pm

Thanks, Jane, for your invitation to make everyday a Bethlehem day – a space of receiving the inspiration & direction of the Most High. Yes, this is the most fulfilling way to live – I’m with you!

I appreciated your wedding ceremony words regarding the love and support of each person that becomes the shoulders on which each one stands as they step into what’s next in their life. This is a beautiful image that’s true for us all, not just when we marry. This is the true power of friendship – like booster rockets to help us in our ordained trajectory in our life of service.

And the call of the future, that inspiration & direction of the Most High, is well captured in these words from a song “Lanterns” by an Aust group called “Birds of Tokyo”:

Lately I’ve found
When I start to think aloud
There’s a longing in the sound
There is more I could be
In darkness I leave
For a place I’ve never seen
It’s been calling out to me
That is where I should be

As this year draws to a close, may we indeed be a space for the longing in the sound for the more that I could be to be heard, received, nurtured and embodied.

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