by Michael Ketterhagen
What good is it to me that Mary gave birth to the son of God fourteen hundred years ago,
and I do not also give birth to the Son of God in my time and in my culture?
We are all meant to be mothers of God.
God is always needing to be born.
--Meister Eckhart (c. 1260 – c. 1328 CE)
Sunday was the Christian New Year and the beginning of Advent in the Christian liturgical calendar. Advent is traditionally the “waiting period or the preparation period for the birth of Jesus of Nazareth in Bethlehem. It is the time that serious Christians prepare themselves spiritually for the birth of the “Kingdom of God/Reign of God/Presence of God” in today’s world.
Setting aside the frantic external commotion of buying presents and decorating the house and the tree, it is a time for true internal preparation for the coming of the Light of the World, the Master of Love, the compassion of the Universe. We see it even in the multiplication of the lights in the stores and on houses and even in our homes.
But this time is not just a time of preparation for Catholic and Protestant Christian celebration of the Birth of the Christ on December 25, or for the Orthodox Christians on January 7. It is Hanukkah (November 28-December 6), a time of celebrating the salvation of the Jewish temple. It is Kwanzaa (December 26-January 1), the African-American celebration of unity, creativity, faith and giving.
The entire world celebrates life, love, compassion and goodness during this coming period of time.
I find it fascinating how each of these spiritual traditions of light (Advent wreath, the Yule log, the menorah, the candles of Kwanzaa) get overshadowed in our commercial world. There is so much energy placed on all the external aspects of these traditions that the deeper spiritual significance and potential power of these celebrations regulate the spiritual to private personal practices.
Of course, it is our personal spiritual transformation that makes for true love and peace and kindness to prevail. When we are filled with the light of the Divine within ourselves, we spontaneously want to share that with others. We spontaneously want to make the world a better place for those we love, and sometimes for those not necessarily part of our life.
When we light that fire of love within ourselves, by sitting quietly each day for 10-15 minutes, either in front of a candle or just visualizing the fire in our mind or heart, we will be birthing God. God is light! God is love! God loves even our enemies or those who repulse us or disagree with us!
Yoga, in particular, offers many methods of meditation and practice that begin to kindle that God-presence in ourselves. A daily practice of yoga asana or meditation grows God within ourselves, and that presence of the Divine spreads.
I propose that each of us spends some quality time to birth God during this next month. Let’s grow God’s presence, the presence of love, the flame of light, the lifestyle of compassion during this month’s preparation and celebration time. We will transform the world, or at least ourselves.