The Trip to Bethlehem – Week 1

Sunday message by Rev. Pat Bessey

What a day we had yesterday… GIVING TUESDAY… thank you to all who contributed to our mission for this community. We are still tabulating but as of this writing, we have received $6185.00. We are only $3,815 away from our goal. If you didn’t have the opportunity to give and want to now, we can reach the $10,000 by December 15. To give you can go to our website and click the donate button and designate Giving Tuesday, mail in a check with Giving Tuesday on the memo line, or you can give on Sunday with a special donation. Once again THANK YOU!

Take a moment and use your power of imagination and visualize a backpack. You will need this for the next three weeks as we take a “Trip to Bethlehem” which is the title of the book I am using for the Christmas Advent series.

Here are the essentials we will need in the backpack. A good understanding of the traditional Christmas story. A good understanding of mysticism and metaphysics. Then an understanding of the difference between facts and Truth and lastly, we must remember to pack faith and prayer.

So, what do we know about the Christmas story? It is only documented in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The Gospels of Mark and John do not even mention the birth. Now Matthew was written some 50 years after the death of Jesus and Luke 90 years later. Based on that how accurate do you think their accounts are. Remember everything was conveyed orally. Then you add in the later years when Christians created traditions of their own.

So why do we celebrate Christmas and the birth… Hypatia Hasbrouck the author says, “Each year, the traditional Christmas story stirs all of us because the Christ Child represents the higher Self, the true Self, of everyone. We know at some time we are destined to take the mystical trip to our own inner Bethlehem, the birthplace of our own higher Self.”

What about mysticism and metaphysical? Mysticism in Unity means one-on-one connection with Spirit or the practice of the presence of God. On the metaphysical level, the story invites us on a mystical journey within where we can find both our full humanity and full divinity. When the one-on-one connection is all we seek.

So how much of the story is fact? More importantly, how much is Truth, with a capital “T?” Each of the Gospel accounts almost certainly is incomplete. But blended together, along with the additions and traditions that have been incorporated since then, the two form a story that points to the Truth.

Check out some of the facts and Truths… like how many shepherds were there… and why is Christmas is December 25th…listen to this week’s audio file to hear the rest of the story…

This Truth becomes a guide for transformation, a spiritual map for our trip to Bethlehem. We must take this map with us on our journey, or we risk losing our way.

Medieval monk Angelius Silesius, who lived from 1624-1677, reminded us of this opportunity when he wrote, “Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born, if he is not born in thee, thy soul is still forlorn.”

That’s the bottom line: If the Christ consciousness is not reborn in us at this time of year, we miss the entire meaning of Christmas. I invite you to continue our journey to Bethlehem throughout this season of Advent with me.

Our Adventure next week addresses this question: “Where Are We Going?” We’ll continue the journey inward as we consider the metaphysical meaning of the theme, the time, the place, the people – and yes, even the animals in this story. See you next Sunday.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

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