As we prepare for Christmas Eve, anticipating the traditional lighting of our candles and the communal singing of Silent Night, I am cognizant of the familiarity this year has given us with our own Silent Nights.
This time last year gathered together at The Land, none of us would have guessed that a global pandemic would have us deep into forced patterns of solitude and silence. None of us would have imagined this collective journey into darkness and the unexpected gifts and grief that would greet us along the way.
As a species created for deep relationships and meaningful connections, the absence of in-person gatherings is magnified in the light of the holy days. The struggle to balance behaviors that keep our loved ones physically safe with the communal practices that keep us emotionally healthy have all but reached a breaking point as we countdown the hours of Christ’s arrival once more.
In what Agustín Fuentes labels as our ‘species moment,’ twenty-twenty will be recorded as a story of remembering that civilization is built on bodies breathing in proximity to other bodies. On the precipice of Christmas Day, once again, salvation is envisioned as a return to spiritual fulfillment through physical presence.
It is from the depth of our social diaspora that we approach the birth of Jesus not only as a historical event to remember but as a cosmic revelation reclaiming corporate participation in a time that has all but taken that away.
In the precipice of Christmas, Fuentes ‘species moment’ is a spiritual revelation packaged in the physical manifestation of the Cosmic Christ into a world of physical isolation. This is a moment that spans beyond a species and sweeps across creation with a deep and desperate call to reconnect with one another as an initiation process for rethinking what it means to reconnect with our place in the cosmos.
This past Monday, December 21st, we gathered out at The Land to witness the vibrant planetary conjunction known as the ‘Christmas Star.’ This alignment of Saturn and Jupiter occurring at night, making it visible to nearly everyone in the world, has not happened for nearly 800 years. On the shortest day of the year, coincidence choreographs a visual marriage of two planets that shine like a bright star in the night sky so that the whole world might see and imagine the divinity of this coordinator of coincidence.
In the presence of a cosmic event playing out at night for the first time in 800 years, the lesson from the land that evening for me was the blatant awareness of how easily the miracle could have been missed. Outshone by a sky filled with planes and overshadowed by the shelter-bound weariness of our worlds, these two huge gas giants presented as humble beginners in the darkness of this cluttered sky. Without a story to announce their presence and telescopes to tout their significance, this planetary promise of a cosmic chorus that sings all around us would have been drowned out by the particulars of our superficial existence.
Without story pulling us toward a vision further and further from our immediate perspective, the miracle would be missed, and the moment would pass by without us ever grasping the meaning.
Christmas arrives not as an encapsulated miracle but as an announcement of the ongoing rhythm of miracles unfolding all around. Christmas arrives with Easter. Creation arrives with Redemption. The incarnation was initiated with the inception of Light and manifested in the birth of Jesus and continues in the healing labor of love that all sentient beings engage in today.
Christ arrives at all times and in every form. The miracle of the birth of Jesus was that an alignment happened within the corporate consciousness of humankind that was ready to witness the human incarnation of a cosmic Christ. The miracle was the evolution of awareness that opened up a conduit that a savior might embody the gospel in such a way that it becomes visible. The miracle that could have been easily missed arrived in humans with such a desperate openness to salvation that this birth flooded into a story foretold and shifted the trajectory of the human story toward love and grace until the end of our times.
Jesus arrived to teach us to expect the miraculous birth of Christ in all things. To train us to live, preparing to witness the work of God everywhere and in everything. To groom us for the possibility that Christ is being born in us and through us in every loving, sacrificial, compassionate, and courageous act we offer into the brokenness of this world.
Jesus arrived and died so that we might be born into an understanding that the Cosmic Christ lives. So that in the longest days of our darkest times, we may stand together under the shelter of a story that promises the presence of light in the sky and the fertility of love in the soil, that we too might be birthed into the unending cycle of a cosmic miracle. Amen.