Skip to comments.True Christmas: The birth of innocence within
Posted on 12/21/2012 4:44:54 PM PST by DaveMSmith
The internal meaning of Joseph, Mary and Jesus tells how we can open our hearts to love today
The birth of Jesus on earth represents His birth in our hearts. His birth in us is the creation of unselfish love in our hearts.
We cannot create this; only He can do it.
But before He can come to us we must do our part through obedience to His law, shunning the evils forbidden in the Ten Commandments, and doing good to the best of our abilities. The story of His birth follows those actions in our lives.
Here is the story, and what it means on a spiritual level.
Luke 2:1-3: And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place when Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Rome was the earthly government at that time. It brought order - subject to its whims. It represents the external government of our own reasoning power - that ordered, logical process which can amass legions of thoughts in patterns and attack a problem with ruthless force.
The Emperor called a census. He wanted to know how many people he had so he could tax them better. This tells of our life, when we are trying to be good. We too gather our mental powers, put the things of our minds into a more proper order so that we can live our lives. We do it from a rather worldly perspective. We feel that we are good, and that we have the power to order our lives.
Think of that census. Think of all those families criss-crossing the land, each going to the place from whence they came. Remember that when the tribes came into Canaan hundreds of years earlier, each was given an inheritance, and in fact the families genealogies were kept in their original cities, recording each birth and all the descendants. It made sense that Rome would call such a census in Judea and Galilee.
This shaking up of the families represent our re-ordering of our minds as we try to live good lives, obedient to God.
But unknown to Caesar or to Herod, one journey was taking place which would change the course of history. It was of the Lords providence that the census took place, and that Joseph, who was living in Nazareth, not in Bethlehem, would make a journey. For while we are trying to order our minds, rearranging our priorities, there is a part of our minds which is lifted into a new realm.
Luke 2:4: And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David.
Joseph was a carpenter - working with tools of iron on wood, shaping the wood into useful items. He represents the human understanding - perhaps particularly that part of the understanding which is interested in religious and truly moral matters. Joseph, carving wood into pleasant forms, stands for how we use our understanding to mold our goodness, believing that this will bring us true happiness.
But true happiness comes from a much more miraculous source. It comes from the Lord incarnate, flowing into our hearts from within.
However, as we use our understanding to seek for the meaning of life and of goodness, we are lifted up into higher thoughts. The journey of Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Judea, and especially to Bethlehem, represent a spiritual journey - the uplifting of our understandings to see deeper truths about life. Bethlehem, which means the house of bread, represents the deepest meaning of the Lords Word, a spiritual understanding of truth. So as Joseph went up to Bethlehem, our understandings are secretly raised up to see deeper truths. We think its because we are working on understanding life. Joseph thought he obeyed Caesars command, whereas it was the Lords providence that led him to Bethlehem. So it is the Lord who secretly uplifts our thoughts.
David, the great king of Israel, represents spiritual thought also. Joseph was of the house of David. Our understanding seems to be very practical and earthly, but it is endowed with the power to see above the body and beyond the world. It is of the house and lineage of David.
Luke 2:5: To be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
As Joseph was promised to Mary, so our human understanding is promised in love to something rather precious inside of us. Mary, the virgin, represent the innocent affection for truth. Each of us has a strain of idealism deep within us. The understanding receives impulses from many sources, but as we try to obey the Lord it promises itself to the spiritual Mary - to a love of more innocent, apparently naive truth. We fall in love with ideals and with dreams of unselfish, worthwhile love.
We all have this idealism, for the Lord has secretly implanted it in our beings from the moment we are born, Every lovely feeling, every true thought, is stored within us by our loving God and becomes our spiritual Mary.
Joseph naturally thought that his marriage to Mary would produce a child who would bring them happiness. We think that if we marry our understanding to our ideals, we will build our happiness. And in one sense that is true. Yet in fact, it is the power of almighty God inflowing into our idealism that produces true love. As Joseph was not the father of Jesus, but was his natural guardian, so our understanding plays a role in our future happiness, but true love is a Divine birth within us. This is the true message of Christmas - that He who came to earth, He alone can warm peoples hearts with love.
Luke 2:6: And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
It took centuries for the Lord to be born on earth. During all that time He prepared people for His birth, and because of those promises, they looked forward to it.
We lose our innocence quite early, and feel, perhaps, that we are very selfish people. It takes time for the Lord to create love in our hearts. Wed love to become kind, totally loving people in an instant. That birth needs time and patience. But its time does come!
Luke 2:7: And she brought forth her first born son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for Him in the inn.
He could have been born anywhere on earth - in the most splendid palace, heir to worldly power and might. He chose a humble stable. Partly this was because He didnt come to be an earthly power. As He said, Who is greater? He who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves. (Luke 22:27).
But the reasons were greater than that. Even in Bethlehem He could not be born in the inn. The inn represents a place of instruction, a place where people gather and exchange thoughts. But the inn was full, even as in our own minds, we often think we know it all.
So He was born in a stable, where the horses feed. A horse, which carries us where we want to go, represents an understanding of specific truths which show us the way in life. It represents an understanding of spiritual truth. And He was wrapped in swaddling cloths, which represent simple, innocent truths, and laid in the place where horses come to eat. Innocent truths are the ones we are tempted to scoff at - simple ideas like Its good to be good, or Its wrong to hurt others, or I can use my abilities to bring happiness to those I love. These are among the most fundamental teachings to be found in all of Scripture.
In other words, the Lord, when He descends into our minds and hearts, finds that in many parts of our lives our spiritual inns are full. We think we know very well how to make our way in life. So He chooses instead to move us with His love in a special part of our mind - where we seek spiritual truths, and we do so from innocence.
We all have a spiritual manger in our minds. Every person has an innocent spot, where she or he wants to learn, and where she feels humble in learning ideas which will make life so very much better than it is now.
To all of us our Savior wants to come. He created us for heaven, and in order that we may know the joy of heaven He teaches us His laws. When we respond, then His love is born in our hearts, and that birth follows an orderly pattern.
1. All the ideas of our minds are brought into order apparently by our own efforts. (The census).
2. A spiritual journey takes place. Our understanding is gradually raised up from thinking only of worldly values into a new light. We take our idealism (our spiritual Mary) with us into that light, to the spiritual Bethlehem.
3. The Lord is not born in those truths which we have filled and perverted with purely worldly values (the inn).
4. Instead He is born into those innocent truths from His Word which we have always trusted and loved, and easily understood (our manger).
5. They are wrapped in simple, clear observations (the swaddling cloths) which protect our newfound love as it grows within us.
This is the process told in the 7 verses that announce the birth of God with us.
Revelation 14: 6 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth--to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people-- 7 saying with a loud voice, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water."
An announcement of the Lord's advent, and of a new church to descend from Him out of heaven, - to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people - to all people who, owing to religion, are prompted by goods, and owing to doctrine are guided by truths.  An admonition not to do evil, because it is to act against the Lord. and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; An acknowledgment and confession that all the Word's truth comes from the Lord, and that everyone will be judged in accordance with it, and that the Lord alone is to be worshiped, because He alone is the Creator, Savior, and Redeemer, and because the angelic heaven and the church and everything in them originate from Him alone. ~ Apocalypse Revealed 612 ~ Swedenborg
As much as things change, the Lord always stays the same
You may wish to look at the life of the Apostle Paul.
Phl 3:4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more:
Phl 3:5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee;
Phl 3:6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
Phl 3:7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
I'm not sure I would trust Google for my theology.
Romans 2:13 NKJV (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;
Romans 3:20 NKJV Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Romans 7:12 NKJV Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
Galatians 2:16 NKJV knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
Galatians 3:24 NKJV Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
We believe in keeping our spiritual house in order by using the Ten Commandments as a guide for repentance, as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ taught. Paul is so misunderstood and his writings have led to horrible false teachings... but, if they are read in the light, they are in harmony.
As for trusting Google for your theology... our Church utilizes Google technology across the board - it's great for video conferencing and file sharing via their cloud - and it's free - we don't have to pay an IT department to build and maintain a infrastructure - I was in that business - it's horribly expensive. Don't tell me you believe Google is 'evil'? At any rate, there is a traditional webhost for this in the works - we used Google to develop all of it.
Our salvation rests not on "living a good life" nor having God pleased with us. Our salvation rests with God the Father opening our eyes and ears to the truth of the gospel. Just as He did with Paul. Following God's commandments is what a Christian wants to do.
And, as a side note, living by the commandments is NOT for God's benefit. The commandments are given to us by the Father so that we may have a good and wholesome life. Sure, they reflect God's nature but that is what a good and wholesome life should be about. Sure, if we followed all the laws we would be like Christ-but we deliberate don't want to. We do not keep the commandments because having a good and wholesome life is totally against our nature. We are rebellious-not only to God and those around us but to ourselves. We would self destruct if it was not for God's substaning grace.
Job 15:15 Behold, God puts no trust in his holy ones, and the heavens are not pure in his sight;
Job 15:16 how much less one who is abominable and corrupt, a man who drinks injustice like water!
I would just submit that unless you have cleaned house internally by repentance - looking at love of self and love of the world - using the Ten Commandments as a guide, which is the only part of the Word written by His finger, you WILL fall into falsifications of the Gospel. I know this from long experience confirmed by the Doctrines of my Church.
2) followed the Ten Commandments and other things the Church has told you to do, and
3) you know this will bring you salvation because this is what the Church has told you.
"The essential element in all adoration and all worship is humility. Without humility there can be no worship or adoration of the Lord, because what is divine and the Lord's cannot flow into a proud heart, that is, into a heart full of self-love; for such a heart is hard and in the Word is called "a heart of stone". It can flow only into a humble heart, since this is soft and in the Word is called "a heart of flesh". Such a heart is receptive of goodness flowing in from the Lord; in other words, it is receptive of the inflow of the Lord." (Emanuel Swedenborg, AC 9377)
I'm not Catholic, BTW - see my profile page.
Thank you. I listened to some of the sermons. Interesting.
Here are New Church Live's statement of beliefs:
2) To live into those gifts we need to step up. - Stepping up means growing closer to God and closer to others. That entails actively and purposefully working on repentance (rethinking), reformation (restructuring), and regeneration (recreating). It means developing an awareness of the need to live purposefully and deliberately in the present.
3) Stepping up to grow closer to God means embarking on a journey with hills and valleys.
4) To help us along the way, God gave us His Word.-... New Church theological canon, authored by the scientist and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, helps us to more fully understand Gods Word.
5) The promise is eternal life in heaven if we so choose. - If we have consistently chosen evil on earth, we will continue to choose it in the next life. If we have tried to live good lives here, regardless of religious denomination, then that choice of a God centered life will be confirmed in the next life and we will be led to heaven, where we will become angels.
New Church Doctrine rejects the concept of salvation through faith alone, since he considered both faith and charity necessary for salvation, not one without the other
I will admit that I was wrong. Perhaps it would be better if you were Catholic.
Hope you had a Merry Christmas.
I'm not sure that I know of your source for 'died 15 times' never heard of that. I do know that in Heaven and Hell, he is put through the process of dying so he can document it - but he didn't actually die.
I certainly don't believe the Lord has stopped talking to us after John on Patmos. Many have recorded visions and have had mystical experiences, myself included. What happened to Swedenborg and the fact that he documented 35 volumes of his 27 year experience should give anyone - believer or non believer - pause.
Better off Catholic? And believe: The Old Testament Foretold that Mary Would Give Birth Without Pain (Catholic Caucus)?
I wouldn't put too much stock in "mystical experiences". There are volumns of people who have had all such experiences-many of them who end up with very strange ideas-including painless births. Those who put their trust in such experiences end up with doctrines like our Catholic friends-or worst. I had one. I was told to go to church. That's all I needed to know. The rest is written down in scripture for our instruction.
I don't go to Church to hear what someone thinks the Bible means and be preached to about whatever agenda he has in mind (usually involves lining his pockets)
As far as preachers lining their pockets there certainly are enough of them. But my feeling on all of this is that if God leads us to give to His work, so much the better. But God doesn't need our money. And if we want to keep it, does anyone think it bothers Him? We don't give because God is going to give it back to us in a tangible form or some spiritual way. We give because we want to give-freely and without expecting anything in return.
However, I would suggest given the span of time that the scriptures were written, there were very few ‘mystical experiences’. Sometimes nothing happened for 3-400 years-even longer. When we look at the approximately 4,000 years that the scriptures cover, there really aren't that many mystical events. God isn't in a hurry. But heck, today they seem to pop up like daisies on a sunny hillside.
End times. The Lord is opening spiritual eyes all over. When the angels spoke to Mary, Joseph and the shepards, that's a mystical experience. When the Magi saw the star - mystical experience. Anything the prophets saw... God speaking to Moses or anyone else...
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