In the Christmas season, I hear myself telling people over and over that the story of Jesus’ birth represents the divine born in you.
Sounds nice, but how do we recognize our own divinity? I mean, how would you know whether you are showing up as divine in any given moment, or whether your humanity has taken over instead?
Actually you can’t not be divine. It’s just who you are and how you were created.
But we all can name people who don’t appear to be expressing God, in our opinion, or whose human egos and fears lead them to be destructive.
Terrorism is only one extreme example. We all have days when we succumb to the less sublime parts of our nature.
What does divinity look like in a human being?
Acting nice all the time? Behaving well?
Fortunately, we have an example of exactly what we’re aiming for, which is a human being who is fully awake and living from divine consciousness. That would be the baby we celebrate at Christmas, who grew up to be Jesus.
(I know, I sound like a preacher. I don’t believe Jesus is the only being who integrated the divine and human in an earthly life, but his story is widely familiar.)
What do we see modeled by Jesus? And what would his behavior look like in us?
INCLUSIVITY. He was criticized for it, but Jesus insisted on eating with “sinners and tax collectors,” the people who were shunned by polite society in his day. He even talked to women!
Who are you shunning today? It doesn’t have to be a particular group; it could be a relative or coworker. How might you include them instead?
FORGIVENESS. Jesus didn’t pretend “it’s all good,” and he acknowledged the less than stellar choices some people make. But rather than criticize, he called them higher. “Go and sin no more,” he told the woman caught in adultery. In other words, you are more than this.
His friends were astonished at his willingness to forgive rather than condemn, and they worried they would have to ramp up their own forgiveness. When they asked about it, Jesus said to forgive as many times as it takes.
Where is your forgiveness needed, to free you from the energy of condemnation? Can you look past behavior to see the divine in that person or group?
COMPASSION. Understanding the difficulty of others’ human journeys and empathizing with their hardships and mistakes makes forgiveness easier. For me, feeling compassion rather than condemnation is a clear sign I am closer to my divinity – that is, thinking from my Higher Self.
As a general rule, if you knew someone’s full story, you would understand why they behave the way they do. With the people you are tempted to shun or blame, would it be possible to assume there is more to them than you know?HEALING PRESENCE. Of course, Jesus is famous for healing people – we call them “miracles” – but I believe we heal each other all the time. Sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally.
If you were inclusive, if you understood people deeply and forgave them for mistakes, wouldn’t that be a healing presence? People would want to hang out in your light. You wouldn’t have to lay on hands or banish their symptoms to be considered a healer.
JUSTICE. Jesus was acutely aware of inequality, of the great divide between those with money and power and those without. Some of the rich people he encountered were too attached to their possessions to follow his teachings. Abuses of power were all around him in the Roman occupation.
But the people who really got under his skin were the Pharisees, the Jewish elite who claimed to follow the letter of God’s law without any of the inclusivity, forgiveness, compassion or healing that Jesus was demonstrating. He called out the Pharisees repeatedly for their fake religion.
“You snakes! You brood of vipers!” he named them.
Ouch. Are there times when you act all spiritual while not really thinking, feeling or living that way?
There was also the red-letter day when Jesus turned over tables in the temple to drive the money-grubbers out of a sacred space. Is there any place you are accepting the status quo rather than speaking up – even creating a ruckus – where you see injustice or disrespect?
KNOWING. The consistent message we have from Jesus, at least as the stories were remembered and written down, is that life can be better. We can be better.
He lived in full awareness of his oneness with the power and presence he called “the Father.” He spoke of himself as a door, a gate, a path to God because he was showing us what is possible for human beings when they are fully aligned with divine consciousness.
He said we could do anything he could do. (John 14:12)
Wouldn’t it feel good to live the way he did?
- Unafraid to honor the people around you, no matter how they have been labeled.
- Willing to overlook transgressions to remember the divine nature of each being.
- Understanding of the struggles most people are experiencing.
- Allowing divine energy to flow through you to touch others.
- Spotting the spiritual fakes and confronting those who deliberately exploit others.
- Knowing your own divinity and that of every person, always aware of the possibility for good and for growth.
Those are divine qualities that were born in you, just they were born in Jesus. That’s what we celebrate at Christmas.