At the heart of Christmas, there lies a story of Grace and Good News fit for all humans: That the Maker of this two-trillion-galaxy-universe — each with hundreds of billions of stars — has visited our tiny planet in human form.

Christ in Time of War: Joseph watches over a heavily-pregnant Mary among the ruins of modern Israel/Gaza. AI-generated image, artist unknown. Posted by Polish Jesuit Grzegorz Kramer.

“Why?” you ask. Meister Eckhart says God visited us out of compassion, and had to “take on a back for beatings” in order to understand our suffering fully. With two wars raging this Christmas, that rings true. About one, I heartily recommend this article that calls for some “tough love” for Netanyahu’s government.* 

Clement of Alexandria said that “the logos of God has become human so that you might learn from a human being how a human being may become divine.”

The Light coming down from Heaven: A meteor shower captured by time-lapse. Photo by Shreshth Gupta on Unsplash.

Recently I was part of an international symposium on the work of Otto Rank. One leader, who identified as an atheist, said he later changed his identity after hearing me speak of the two trillion galaxies that constitute our universe. He said he was taken aback and humbled, and felt maybe there is some Intelligence far greater than his, behind this vast universe of two trillion galaxies and its 13.8 billion year journey, after all. And this Great Mystery we call God.

Add to that realization: the Good News Story that this Great Mystery has visited us, beginning in a manger in a tiny, unremarkable village, grew up as a peasant farmer and carpenter, and developed into a parable-teller, who spoke directly to the hearts of ordinary and oppressed peoples under the yoke of an occupying empire.   

In 1642, Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit missionary at Sainte-Marie in Canada, told the story of Jesus’ nativity in terms the native Hurons could understand — thereby turning the turning the story itself into a parable, and creating North America’s oldest Christmas carol. Here, the first verse is sung in the original Huron. Video by GenevaSkyMusic. 

And he took on that empire, proposing that a “kingdom/queendom of God” displace it, beginning in the hearts of humans. At the heart of that reign would dwell humanity’s capacity for love and compassion, justice and forgiveness. And who died a cruel (but not uncommon) death on a cross, as was the practice of that cruel empire. And that death did not have the last word.

Those who reflected on these stories came to insights like this:

“We are partakers in the divine nature.” (2 Peter: 1:4)
“God became a human being in order that human beings might become God.” (Irenaeus)

A Blessed Christmas to all.

To be continued. 

* Thomas L. Friedman, “It’s Time for the U.S. to Give Israel Some Tough Love.” The New York Times, December 22, 2023.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance, pp. 108f.

And Fox, Passion For Creation: Meister Eckhart’s Earth-Honoring Spirituality, pp. 415-439.

See also, Fox and Andrus, Stations of the Cosmic Christ.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Jesus Christ’s humble beginnings in a stable. Photo by Al Elmes on Unsplash.

Queries for Contemplation

What is the grace and heart of Christmas for you?

Recommended Reading

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart

Matthew Fox’s comprehensive translation of Meister Eckhart’s sermons is a meeting of true prophets across centuries, resulting in a spirituality for the new millennium. The holiness of creation, the divine life in each person and the divine power of our creativity, our call to do justice and practice compassion–these are among Eckhart’s themes, brilliantly interpreted and explained for today’s reader.
“The most important book on mysticism in 500 years.”  — Madonna Kolbenschlag, author of Kissing Sleeping Beauty Goodbye.  

Stations of the Cosmic Christ
By Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus.

This is a book of meditations on the Cosmic Christ, accompanying the images of 16 wonderful clay tablets by Javier Ullrrich Lemus and M.C. Richards. Together, these images and meditations go far beyond the traditional Stations of the Cross to inspire a spirit awakening and understanding of the cosmic Christ Consciousness, Buddha consciousness, and consciousness of the image of God in all beings, so needed in our times.
“A divinely inspired book that must be read by every human being devoted to spiritual and global survival. It is cosmically brilliant.” — Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

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4 thoughts on “The Grace & Heart of Christmas, 2023”

  1. Avatar

    What I experienced as the grace and heart of Christmas, which unfolded during a Christmas Eve gathering last night, was a celebration of diversity through the beauty of relationship; rooted in an acceptance of our unique differences and an open willingness to compassionatley understand one another in the Spirit of love.

    Gathered round the festive table, open, honest and vulnerable heart-to-heart conversations unfolded between those of different religious and spiritual pathways, cultures, and sexual identity.

    The ancestors of each one, were also prayerfully honored and called into this sacred moment of Holy Union, and Oneness… each one speaking their own native language, each one sharing their generational traditions and stories… each one a part of the Whole.

    Throughout the evening, the gifts and blessings of each one’s beauty, goodness, and sacredness, inherent within each one… emerged… like little stars shining in the darkness of the night sky.

    Something new I sensed, was birthed in all of us, this Christmas Eve… as we all converged heart-to-heart with the Mystery and Spirit of LOVE and GRACE!

    Miquitch, Omwetakwyasin, Amen… Let It Be So!

  2. Avatar

    Thank you Matthew for reminding us that CHRIST, our Divine Nature, is still being born in our hearts/Souls and our compassionate lives with one another as Sacred sisters and brothers in our Beautiful Sacred Mother Earth with all Her living creatures and graceful abundance… Our Diverse LOVING ONENESS ~ Our Source~Co-Creator’s Queendom~Kingdom is still manifesting/incarnating/evolving ~ COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS of DIVINE LOVE ~ on Earth as it Is in HEAVEN ….

  3. Avatar

    Love is always what it’s all about.

    Blessings and wishes for love, peace, mutual respect and health for everyone, and generous compassion for our delicate little blue planet and all its membership of diversity.

    And as an added note, I wish to give due credit and thanks to Diana Butler Bass, whose ” Sunday Musings: A Beautiful Advent” online sermon yesterday was the perfect inspiration for my Christmas Eve post yesterday evening. It all fit so exquisitely.

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