• Patricia Ballentine

A Christmas Message to All

I don’t generally write Christmas messages. The Winter Solstice has long been my holy time in these late December days. Witnessing the birth of the new Sun on Solstice morning always brings me to tears with flashes of inspiration and heart penetrating awe and love even when the Sun doesn’t shine through the clouds. It is the time of the year when I feel most deeply the Universal Connection and sense of Oneness with All That Is.


At the same time, I’ve been an ordained minister for over 20 years and focused on interfaith and inter-tradition work for most of that time. I’ve spoken from numerous Christian pulpits and stood before even more Christian altars sharing messages. Those have often been times when I’ve felt the experience of a Planetary Oneness. Looking into the eyes of humanity I’ve seen many longing…even hungry for understanding, yet willing to linger in the mystery of the unknown.

This year I’m allowing myself to feel more deeply into the relationships I have with those whose beliefs are much different than mine. I am inspired to offer a Christmas message. I’m not focusing on the extremes of the right or the left, but rather, those who aren’t so far off the hedgerow that I traverse between Pagan and Christian. I’m focusing on those who hold Jesus in their heart and strive to live in a way that, when observed, embodies more of the energy of the Beatitudes than the Commandments.


I’ve seen it written that the Beauty of the Beatitudes is that their meaning isn’t quite clear. And I love that. Rather than being something seemingly easy to understand yet often demanding blind observance, the Beatitudes are believed to be the words of Jesus, spoken as he began gathering in and creating community. I can put myself on the mountain and I can create a vision of what it might have felt like when he delivered the message. I can only imagine that he allowed the words to mean different things to different people and that the message was a way to initiate connection and build bridges, and touch minds and hearts.


And, as I often say, when we receive that moment of heart penetrating awe and love, as I can imagine many may have experienced on the mountain that day, and we draw it in and hold it close…we are already changing it. The moment the message shifted from Jesus’s mouth to the first retelling something was lost. Over the course of history interpretation upon interpretation shifts and redirects, yet with the written texts themselves as they are currently printed, the pure essence…and possibly the original intent of the message… can be touched as if it were new and true today.


So this Christmas I’m thinking about and grateful for my Christian Near and Dears who embody the essence of the person I vision Jesus to have been when those words were spoken. They are the people who speak fewer words and listen more. They strive to live the message of the words in red.


And this year, regardless of our religious or spiritual beliefs and practices or lack thereof, I suggest we could all use a bit of kindness. We can speak with softer tones when words are spoken. We can pause to listen to the messages between the words that are only found in the quiet spaces. We can remember that there are those who are poor in spirit, mourning, feeling meek, or are hungry. We can contemplate mercy, and heartfulness, and we can feel the energy of the peacemaker and the persecuted. We can reach out from the place we stand…regardless of which side of the hedgerow we anchor ourselves, and for a bit of time…we can be bridge, and imagine ourselves on that mountain speaking…or listening.


May this Christmas bring you peace and love….and the sparks of inspiration that inspire awe and wonder.


InJOY,

Rev. Patricia