Matthew 1:18-2:23 Protecting Your Christ Child
Protecting Your Christ Child
Sunday lesson given at Unity Center of Christianity in Baltimore, December 8, 2019.
Hi Friends —
Last week I wrote about how a scientific way of thinking will close our mind to the true message of Christmas: “Our awareness of Jesus Christ (in me and in you) is conceived and born in us so that ..." You and I have the task of figuring what the meaning of “so that." Whatever “so that" may be is the prophecy of who God sees you and I to be and how God sees us coming into expression.
That message drew from a passage in Matthew 1 entitled “The Birth of Jesus the Christ". It was part of a four-part series based on the four Christmas chapters in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. This week’s talk draws from Matthew 2. Next week and the week after will draw from Luke 1 and Luke 2. I hope you take the opportunity to print out each chapter and set aside some devotional time to assimilate the stories they offer.
Regardless, this week’s message is about what happens after we become aware of the inner presence of Jesus Christ. It’s not a pretty story. As I wrote last week, if we allow a critical mind to massacre a nascent thought that there just may be a divine Christ in us then we will never reach a spiritual understanding of our full spiritual nature.
Here is an outline of the passages and some things to note from the annotations.
1. Jesus the Christ is conceived and born.
This passage from Matthew 1:18-25 is about the conception of Jesus, revelations to Mary and Joseph and how they responded. Here are some notes from the annotations.
- Now the birth Jesus the Messiah. Jesus Christ, as the perfect-idea human, whom God created, is our real self, brought into expression and manifestation.
- took place in this way. Everything takes place in the mind.
- Mary. A pure state of consciousness that ponders things in her heart and believes in revelations.
- Joseph. Our intuitive wisdom, receptive to true ideas of God mind and willing to do what is right without regard to his own interests.
- Joseph and Mary’s betrothal. A spiritual union that stirrs into activity the most spiritual forces of the soul.
- found with child of the Holy Spirit. An awakening of our mind to the conception of the Christ Spirit.
- an angel of the Lord. Our spiritual perceptive faculties, which dwell in the presence of God the father.
- Immanuel. Literally, God with us, but, metaphysically, God within us.
Note that God is active, even without the conscious knowledge of Mary and Joseph. That is the first thing to know about spiritual unfoldment: that God’s will comes without our awareness. Our task is to be receptive to that change with a virgin state of consciousness.
2. Wisdom is stirred and seeks understanding.
This passage from Matthew 2:1-2 is about wise men who are stirred by revelations, and who seek deeper understanding from the ecclesiastical authorities. Here are some notes from the annotations.
- was born in Bethlehem. Metaphysically, the “house of bread,” theologically, “of one substance with the Father.”
- Wise men from the east. Inner resources of the soul, stirred by inner (east) revelations of truth (the star).
- King of the Jews. The ruling power of spiritual consciousness, based on mind and heart.
- star in the east. Intuition, perceived as a mere speck of light and not fully understood. A source of authority for metaphysical religion of equal to scripture and tradition.
At some point the intuitive inner faculties of the soul awaken to a small light of truth and they begin a journey to fuller understanding. The first place they go is to religious authorities (Jerusalem).
3. Sense consciousness is afraid of giving up dominion.
Matthew 2:3-8 describes how our lower state of consciousness (Herod) responds to awakenings to higher ideals of living. It feels threatened and it makes a plan to keep things as they are. Here are some things to note.
- Herod. The ruling power of the personal consciousness dominates by intellectual control of thoughts, represented by chief priests and scribes.
- was troubled. Disturbed by the first glimmering of a different consciousness and jealous of its power and authority. Personal consciousness will seek to retain its dominion, whatever the cost.
Our sense consciousness puts this new understanding on a watch list. At this point, it is frightened. It will become enraged later on.
4. Wisdom faculties awaken with joy.
Matthew 2:9-12 is what we commonly call the Adoration of the Magi. This passage, number four of seven passages in this story, is the central one. The star guides, but at some point it becomes still. At that point Christ is about to become known to the wise men. They offer their gifts and depart “another way”. Annotations are:
- rejoiced with exceeding great joy. When wisdom has a religious experience (spiritual demonstration) it feels strong joy. Joy is the positive emotion associated with wisdom. We can be joyful only by arriving where God has led us. At that point we become still.
- they departed into their own country another way. Wisdom returns to our everyday life, but with a new way of being.
Wisdom is wise enough to leave Jerusalem and to let go of Herod. Rather than seek understanding from the ecclesiastical authorities, wisdom continues following its own star, which becomes still over Christ in Bethlehem, leading them to a sense of great joy. Wisdom adores the Christ and pours out its gifts.
5. Escape to the spiritual coma.
Matthew 2:13-15 is the passage about Joseph escaping to Egypt with Mary and Jesus. An angel appears to him in a dream, tells him what Herod is about to do and instructs him to flee to Egypt. Here are the annotations:
- flee to Egypt. The protected place of the subconsciousness.
- for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. See the next passage.
- until the death of Herod. Until the personal ego destroys itself.
The annotations say that it is wise to protect the new born spiritual consciousness from coming into contact with the personal ego. We should be watchful to see that the subtle desires of sense consciousness do not rob the young child of its vitality and thus kill it out of consciousness. In the subconsciousness (Egypt), the young child may be cared for and fed daily with spiritual thoughts.
6. The massacre of innocent ideas.
Matthew 2:16-18, The Massacre of the Infants, is certainly one of the most disturbing passages in the Bible. It is about what Matthew claims that Herod did to maintain domination. Biblical scholars do not have evidence that his actually occurred, but they also claim that it is in keeping with what Herod might have done. Here is one of Charles Fillmore’s annotations:
- was exceeding wroth. When the human self does not have its way it loses its tempter, flies into a rage, is destructive and kills out many potentially good forces.
Metaphysical religion has always claimed that the Bible cannot be fully understood unless portions of it may be interpreted allegorically. Origen (born c. 185), an influential theologian of eastern Christianity, and likely the most influential theologian of metaphysical Christianity, claimed that offensive parts of the Bible were put there in order (“so that”) for us to look deeper into the meaning. Note that the deeper meaning of this passage is that the rage of the human self can kill many things, but it cannot kill the Christ child.
7. Conscious Awakening to the Christ.
Matthew 2:19-23 is about the return from Egypt and settlement in the humble town of Nazareth in Galilee. Herod has died and an angel has told Joseph to return to Palestine. Joseph did so, but for fear of Archelaus, Herod’s son and successor, Joseph chose to settle in the much more secluded region of Galilee. Here are some annotations.
- Herod was dead. The Christ child is no longer in danger. When in the silence and in dreams we see a little child, we may know that the Christ body (Jesus) has begun to form in our subconscious mind. It is then safe to surface (Christ) into consciousness and from our subconscious (Egypt).
- Galilee. The life activity or soul energy of man acting in conjunction with substance.
- Nazareth. A city of Galilee, means a sprout, a small thing held of slight significance. The commonplace mind of man where the Christ ideal may take root and grow up in consciousness.
- that might be fulfilled. A foreknowledge of Truth to be demonstrated.
This story of seven passages concludes with Jesus in the humble setting of Nazareth in Galilee. It is reminiscent of modern-day recovery language: peaceful living, without exuberance, one day at a time.
These seven passages comprise not only a gospel Christmas narrative, they also comprise a narrative of our awakening to the Christ presence within.
Know that it is not the Christ that is born, rather it is our awareness of the Christ that is born. Christ is eternal, as are we, and Spirit and Soul are inseparable.
The process begins with the inner working of Spirit, effecting change in our mind in unknown ways (Grace) and continues with our faculties making sense of that change by following a guiding star of wisdom. Early on we have a religious experience but the exuberance of that experience is not normally sustainable, thus we retreat into a subconscious place where we can protect our new awareness from hostile inner forces. In time, we develop to a place where it is safe to bring our divine nature into conscious awareness and we awaken to the Christ within.
Second Sunday of Advent, December 8, 2019
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