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Noel! A Christmas deep and true

By AbduRafiu
23 December 2021   |   3:04 am
Another commemoration of the Holy Night will take place again tomorrow night. Candle processions will be practically everywhere. There will be a lot of singing.

Photo: PIXABAY

Another commemoration of the Holy Night will take place again tomorrow night. Candle processions will be practically everywhere. There will be a lot of singing.

In many halls will be gathered millions in Christendom, their souls to bow, in the celebration of another Christmas.

The passage of time has been unable to diminish the splendour of the Nativity. Shops may not have been booming and the customary exchange of gifts may have been restrained and carols muffled, all by Mr. COVID-19, the upliftment the season gives to the soul remains. It has not totally removed the gleam and the glee.

Ahead of the stupendous event, parts of Lagos, particularly Ikoyi and Lekki have since last month been bedecked with glitters and bunting. I drove through Alfred Rewane Road at the weekend, it was all lights covering buildings, high-rise or simple ones, and shopping malls, beaming and beckoning. The commemoration of the Holy Night is nigh.

“But thou Bethlehem, Ephratah, thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel.” That was the prophecy of Prophet Micah (5: 2).

“I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel” (Number 24: 17). This was the prophecy of Moses to prepare mankind and keep them awake for the coming great event.

Thus, more than 2,000 years ago, the event commanding the prophecy and the reflection of tomorrow night, reaching a crescendo on Saturday, actually happened in a little town called Bethlehem. In a manger in this city crowded by a census when the Jews had to return to their origin to be counted, was born a Child Whose Mission was to reshape the world and free man from the shackles of his faults and weaknesses. The property issue in Israel at the time and the resulting census ordered by Rome as well as the disgrace of Herod the king had necessitated Joseph and Mary to travel to Bethlehem, thus bringing to fulfilment the prophecy that the Lord Jesus would be born in the city of David, in Bethlehem.

Above the newborn Child in the sky, even if unseen by many, a Star shone, as a sign of greeting from the Father. To a few was the import of this Star and the event revealed. They were simple shepherds, who were permitted clairvoyance and clairaudience to the bargain. Their inner eyes and inner ears opened, they saw the heavenly Host which accompanied the Baby Jesus to this earth plane and heard the Heavenly message: “Be not afraid…”

The brief event in the cosmos portends a number of lessons. First, such great revelations on earth are made only through a few people specially chosen and well prepared for the occasion. It is not a matter for the multitudes. Thus, the present and the future cannot deviate from the past, all being parts of one great whole strewn together by immutable threads of the same unchanging perfect principles, encoded in the Will, the Law. Secondly, it strips today’s ascription of magic or evil to the ethereal experience of any credible foundation and authority. For, who, from the experience of these meek but knowledgeable shepherds, can deny the existence of transcendental life or the capacity of earthlings to experience vistas of it?

Like Paul on the way to Damascus and the Disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration and even Baalam who on his horse which was approaching an area about to burst in quakes, saw a blinding light and fell on their knees in fear and veneration. Hence, the soothing and reassuring words of peace “…be not afraid.” Among those also blessed to behold the Star of Bethlehem were the three Wise Men from the Orient who followed the movement of the Star until It settled high in the sky above the stable. They were chosen so that through their wealth they would smooth and lighten the path of the Lord in an earthly way since He was alien to the world of matter, and with their power protect him from harm. However, after presenting their gifts, they returned to their countries. The memory of their Calling and very high tasks had started to fade. The Lord was thus gravely at exposed to danger!

If the Light of the higher world blinds the earthly eye, that world must be in stronger motion, and that the stronger the emotion, the higher the world. Thus the ‘mystery’ of the “heavens” begins to make sense, and a deeper understanding emerges of the “many mansions (Heavens; Realms) in my Father’s house” (Creation). Ditto, a thousand years in this sluggish world being equivalent to one day in that vibrant light-filled world! Thus, the picture begins to emerge, clear and sharp, of the vast worlds that the Lord Jesus had to traverse from His Home in the Abode of the Father to the earth to carry out His mission of salvation. The Lord came and anchored His Word of Truth which if man heeded would free him from earthly bondage and lead him to salvation and eternal life.

The coming as the Word Incarnate had become necessary because mankind had grown incapable of recognizing the Truth which alone sets free, and He brought the whole and pure Truth. He did say: “My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me. If any man will do His Will he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh The glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him” (John 5, 16). He also stated on another occasion: “But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me” (John 5,36). “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life,” the Lord proclaimed.

After revealing Himself, He began to clarify existing teachings, what is contained in the Torah, break down the standards of the time, abolish regulations that were once useful but which had now become outdated and He introduced inevitable reforms. “Ye have heard …But I say unto you.”

“Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, swear not at all…” (Matthew 5, 33-34). “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Matthew 5, 17). He went on to state the first commandment: “The Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6, 4-6). “I come not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5, 32). “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12). He expanded, or emphasized law as it may be necessary and gave it a new meaning.

Christ’s teachings were ignored. Those who were stirred by His Words did not live them. A majority were unable to believe that He came. Where there was a faint internal struggle of their souls a great many came to the conclusion that if He came, He was only like them. They were unable to see a Man among men—outwardly in His physical cloak, a man, inside, a Divine Being, the Lord; indeed even beyond that, a Part of the essence of God unsubstantiated, that is Life and Truth. What separates the Divine Realm and the Throne of the Almighty is an ocean of Fire which because of their essence only the Lord Christ and the Holy Spirit can cross. Among those who honestly and fervently awaited His coming, a great many passed Him by unsuspecting not being inwardly alert and because the expectation of the Messiah was different from the Man they beheld, far from what they believed was the fulfilment of the prophecies. If the Lord were to walk today on the face of the earth a great many would not recognise Him because He would not show physically any striking difference from all men, in accordance with the Law. The possibility of recognition is even more remote today because the situation in the world at this time is by far worse. Reputation, public or self-acknowledgement, money and power remain enduring idols!

Because Christ’s Teachings were ignored, the world has been plunged into turmoil and misery. It is bickering all over the place, economic doldrums, diseases notably COVID-19 and its ruthless variants which are disrespectful of class, position, pomp and pageantry. In Nigeria, there is unprecedented and intractable insecurity and foolish obstinacy. Man has reached the dead end, believing in his imagined abilities. He is helpless. But the teachings of Christ the Lord are eternal; they are in the activity regardless of man’s opinion or hostilities. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven, and all other things will be added unto thee.”

Tomorrow, it is doubtful if the events in Bethlehem, that Holy Night more than 2,000 years ago will find an echo in many a soul even as we mouth well-worded jubilation songs in His praise. It is doubtful if there will be many blazing fires bursting from the spirit. It will be difficult to find many traces of genuine jubilant gratitude for the great sacrifice in that Mission to free man from his fault and weaknesses, fetters which bind him to the world of matter and debar his ascent back to his home at an Age the time allotted to us for our schooling and education here on earth is running out. For so soon after those candle lights, gathering for songs and predictably exhortation from the pulpit, many soon disperse to celebrate the coming of Christ the way they know and enjoy best…in revelry, drinking, wining and pleasure instead of reverence and deepest contemplation. But these couldn’t be the legacies of Christ’s Mission!

How then can we recapture the legacies? Christ supplied the answer: We should become children, which means to be pure within. We are permitted to know through Living Knowledge mediated to man today that purity is the harbinger of true love as Divine Love manifests in the Ray of Purity, the Ray of Purity being the path It treads. And as the Ray of Divine Love can tread no other path, It can only be absorbed by the Ray of Purity. This is the secret of why many people no longer experience Christmas, for Christ is Love and the Ray of Love can be anchored only on homogeneous soil. We must all humble ourselves before the Creator and live only according to His Will lest the blessing of Yuletide pass us by. Knowledge of this Will is the greatest of gifts we can share in gratitude for the inestimable, the Nativity bestowed on all mankind.