We are all one with creation

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, December 21, 2016

There is just one thing, or perhaps it is better to say there is just one Being.

It is now a few days before the western Christian celebration of the Nativity, what we commonly call Christmas and in which we are immersed beginning in mid-November. The expressions of the celebration of the Nativity are as numerous as there are Christian communities all over the world, and very few of those traditions are alike. But what we Christians often fail to grasp is that the underlying theology of the human birth of the Christ child is present, in one way or another, in most religious traditions, in that we are all one people and we are all one with creation. There is only one thing – the divine presence of God in and through all that God created.

Now before some of you jump up and start crying “paganism” let me say that what I am talking about is the theology of panentheism (literally that God is present in all creation), rather than pantheism (meaning God and the natural order are the same thing).

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One of the most fundamental doctrines of Christianity is the doctrine of the Incarnation wherein the creative word (logos, see John 1) of God became human (incarnate) as the Christ (the Anointed One) to the end that all human beings might be reconciled (awakened) to the divine presence that is in everything. That means that God chose to reveal God’s very Self in a fully human being with a fully divine nature that we might be led back into a realized union with that one Being who lives within each of us and everything around us.

It is important to note that the doctrine of the Incarnation assumes and teaches that the Creator of all heaven and earth (including us) is loving to the point of rejecting total transcendence (that is, absolute separation from the created order) in favor of being fully present and active in that created order. That means that God in Christ and Christ in us rejoices with us and suffers with us. He is all those things Christians believe the Incarnate Christ child came to be: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

Please note that the Christ that Isaiah foresees is entirely benevolent. As a matter of fact, the first announcement of the Nativity by the angels to the hillside shepherds was simple: “Do not be afraid; for see, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah [Christ], the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

The importance of this heavenly messenger’s reassuring announcement must not be undervalued.  The Nativity and Incarnation of the living divine Creator is the marker for the spark of that same divine Creator in us and everything around us. Note that the herald angel quite specifically says that this is “good news of great joy for all the people.” All, meaning everyone, in every place, in every time.

It is extremely difficult for us western Christians, with our determined individualism and penchant for duality, to wrap our minds around the fact that there is no “other” anywhere.  The message of Christmas is that we are all one Being in and with the Creator Father by virtue of our creation by the Word (the logos, the Christ) and that, if are willing, we can see and know that comfort and truth through the ongoing voice of God spoken through the Holy Spirit.

That truth is what lies behind our tendency to gracefulness, kindness, and love during this holy season. The human child whose birth we celebrate is the focus of God’s eternal, benevolent presence. As the bearer of this Christhood, Jesus, a human baby born in poverty and obscurity, embodied fully that which abides in every one of us and every thing that has ever been created; and whether we realize it or not what we celebrate beneath all the commercialism and ritualism is our oneness in God. We are all one Being, all together, in a perfect relationship with the Creator God whom we call Father (Creator), Son (Christ), and the Holy Spirit (the ongoing presence and revelation of God). We simply need to open our hearts and minds to this gift and celebrate it.

So, let me wish you a very Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays, if you prefer), and remind you that the Christ child is in you, and the poor and homeless, and the rich and powerful, and the sick and suffering, and even in those of other faiths who practice “kindness, and do justice, and walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8), so be of good cheer, be generous, be understanding, be forgiving, and, above all, realize that we are all one Being with and in God.

~ Michael Doty, Musings from the Workbench