Infinite Way Letters 1957: April
By Joel S. Goldsmith
How beautiful the Christmas season is! Man has poured devotion on it, not only the devotion of a few days or months, but that of centuries.
Into Christmas observance he has brought customs from religions other than that of Christianity—the use of mistletoe and holly, the use of decorated tree. People of many lands have brought, to Christmas, carols and anthems. These we sing in our homes and in churches.
We listen again to the Bethlehem story and picture to ourselves a scene of shepherds as they hear sung from the skies: “On earth peace, good will toward men.”7
It is at this point that some of us may wonder why, if peace be the gift of God, we have not received it. But, as we query this, would it not be well if we considered whether or not we have something to do that the peace of heaven be fulfilled in us. Have we steadfastly endeavoured to put into practice the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth? Have we learned to forgive “seventy times seven” or to pray for our enemies?
True, we may believe these are instructions fit only for Sunday. And never, surely, have they been put into practice on a large scale. We have opened our churches during war-time to beseech blessings for our own soldiers, forgetting that the Master said that praying for our own avails little.
What if we should open our places of worship to pray for our enemies? Not, of course, that they be enabled to fulfil their human greeds, but rather that the centre of their beings be opened so that, as the poet Browning says, “the imprisoned splendour may escape.” Then it could be that weapons would fall from our respective hands as we reached them out in a gesture of brotherhood, and enduring treaties be signed at the peace tables of the world.
Then it could be that across the skies of the nations would sound the Christmas blessing: “On earth peace, good will to men.”
In the spiritual journey from Christmas to Easter, the lesson is a continuous message of non-resistance to evil, of praying for those who in any way offend us, and of forgiving, forgiving, and forgiving. This reaches its height when the Master, before the Crucifixion, is taken prisoner and rebukes Peter who would defend and protect him, reiterating once again the two laws which were soon to carry the triumphant Master to full realization: “Put up again thy sword . . . for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword . . .8 Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”9
Easter reveals the achievement of full Christhood by the Master and reveals the way by which we can attain immortality. The Christ-experience we seek is revealed from Christmas to Easter, and each step must be taken in its proper order to enable us to achieve the ascension above material sense. And here let each student remember that we are called upon to rise above the so-called good material sense as well as the erroneous. The Christ-experience leads to the ascension above the human mode of life to the spiritual.