As a youngster Christmas Time was a time of anticipation and awe. Back then, home was a small town located at the base of the Italian eastern Alps. As the winters approached I always felt jubilant in anticipation of the first snowfall and the coming of Christmas. My anticipation was not one of exchanging Christmas gifts – for due to the post WW II conditions that was not possible – but an anticipation of a special time of well-wishing that made me feel at home and secure. Of special interest to me was the displaying of the Nativity Scene by the local Church. One of the side altars was transformed into this beautiful green landscape of valleys with sheep and shepherds intermixed among the trees. All seem to be heading toward this manger where this Glowing Infant we called “Gesù” laid. There was a special light surrounding this manger and the Baby, the kind of light that dazzled me toward a deeper inner search.
Could this be the same light that Thomas Sugrue looked for in the following?
The Light That Shines in Darkness
“The beauty of night is not darkness, but the light that shines in darkness; white drops of stars, yellow rivers of moon, and the sapphire of the Evening Star. These are the lamps of heaven, that point the way to eternity. These are the beacons that tell us there are cities beyond the plains and hills; that there are highways beyond the road to glory.
While they watch for her from the mountain-tops of infinity, night the mother, labors quickly to fashion earth for tomorrow. She dampens clay with dew, and mixes it with the life the sun has left her. She shapes and hollows and breaks and expands; she freezes and melts and solidifies; she often buds and loosens the apple stems. She sends a tide up the beaches, and leads a wind down the valleys.
Meanwhile her dreams transmute the minds of man, tearing down the shapes of memory, pouring in the thoughts and deeds and visions of yesterday, moulding of these mélange new forms for the coming day: forms that are here a little better, there a little worse, than those which were before.
Then the Morning Star comes, and night retreats within her invisible, limitless self; hovering, hoping, praying, while day strikes barefoot through the world, breaking and smashing and scattering himself through everything that is: building a little flower, knocking over a mountain, draining a lake or a river, filling a tree with sap. And when the journey is done and he is gone, night comes forth again to pick up the pieces, to mend the broken parts, and to fit new dresses on the violets that have grown too big for their pinafores. While she works light shines in her darkness, that she may see where to stick her pins, and where to put a tuck in the hem.
Likewise there is a light that shines in the darkness of the heart of man, where the night of spirit labors in the clay of soul, fashioning eternally a shape for the day to shatter, for life to fall upon and maim in its careless joy.
And likewise it is a light that tells of another place, and of another time, of a land and a love that lie far beyond the farthest corridors of the last-made, suburban stars: of an Elysium strewn with fields of asphodel, and filled with mercy and sleep.
It is a light that tells of a magic mountain of the moon, and of a musician who strings his harp from star to star; and of a peace that will come someday to the last and the least of those who dwell on earth: when the lonely shall be comforted, and the sick shall be healed, and the stricken shall be made whole.
It is a light that comes up in the sky over Bethlehem in Judea, on a clear, cold night when the moon was high, [two thousand sixteen year ago]: a light that was sent to all men that the whispers in their mind were true, and that now and forever the way to the cities beyond the plains and hills was open, and the highways beyond the road to glory.
… Thus the individual entity finds that the body, or that first creation of God, the mind, is the way: or the way through which light may come to the entity of the Father. For, as are the pronouncements in the law by Moses, ‘Today there is set before thee good and evil, life and death. And say not who will descend from heaven to bring a message, or who may come from over the sea, for Lo, it is within thine own heart.’
… How do we open? Through searching, seeking, humbling thyself before the throne of grace and mercy, as was manifested in Him.”
Let this Christmas then, be a reminder for each one of us that this special Birth can be a new beginning, or a new understanding, that the brilliant Light within us is ever ready to spring forth.
WISHING ALL OF YOU A BLESSED CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Your Arizona A.R.E. core Team.
Bob Ferro, John Schroeder, Steve Bobbitt, Neil Crawford, Glenda Crawford, Rose Ferro and Virginia Wold.