Dr. Arthur Chang, author of “The New Positive Spirituality: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Everyday Life,” defines positive spirituality as the practice of positively embodying God’s attributes of love and law and using them in our lives to bring our desires into physical reality.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020


By Rev. Dr. Arthur W. Chang
 Christmas is a rich treasure trove of spiritual insights on how to live your best life. The central notion is that the expected messiah or “Christ” is the light of the world and came to overcome the darkness of hopelessness and depression. A struggle for mere survival in this life is a cry for positive and creative change. The Christmas story uses the words, redemption, salvation and peace as the gifts of the Christ birth.
The power of Christmas is the power of consciousness to reset the patterns of the mind, which trend downward. The Christ Power is for redeeming the positive trajectory missing from one’s life. It restores the hope of success, happiness and fulfillment. The two sacred birth narratives of the Christ by Matthew and Luke are irreconcilably conflicting. However, contradiction fails to rob the stories of their essence, which calls the reader to reflection, suspending logic and accepting paradox for a deeper meaning.
 Paradoxes in sacred teachings often indicate a need to stop relying on the legs of reason and to take to the wings of intuition. This is because the deeper meanings are beyond words as they deal with the wonderment of God in the world as the consciousness of the Christ.
Connecting Heaven and Earth
Christmas connects heaven and earth. Empowerment comes from this connection because heaven is the word for our sacred Source. God is perfect, whole and complete but, paradoxically, affects creation as creation affects God. Jesus, in teaching his disciples how to pray, observed the notion, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The individual is not an island or free agent but an interdependent being—a being constantly in relationship. Thus, Jesus said, “Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself,” as he summarized the Mosaic Commandments.
In Luke’s version, an angel established this relationship with the priest Zachariah, telling him his wife, Elizabeth, who was beyond childbearing age, would have a son—John. Elizabeth is Mary’s cousin. The angel next appeared to Mary, the virgin, and told her she would have a son—Jesus, the son of God, the Messiah. Messiah means Christ, the anointed of God. Everyone comes into the world anointed by virtue of his or her individuality and talents. Christmas is giving birth to that Christ nature.
In the Matthean version of the Christ birth, the angel spoke, not to Mary but to Joseph, telling him not to divorce Mary because her child was that of the Holy Spirit. Both Matthew and Luke highlight, throughout their writings, the feminine quality of nurturing and relational wisdom. When the angel appeared to the shepherds, they were tending their flocks by night. Night implies a birth of something new coming from the Divine Dark or womb of God. The Women were the ones the angel spoke to about this special birth.
In the Lucan narrative, the angel often announced his presence with the word “Peace.” Peace on earth means peace to all people. The Christ spirit is ecumenical—universal. This peace is already within us and we are to evoke it.
A peaceful consciousness in the face of covid-19 and political upheaval will not be achieved with a waving of a wand. Positive changes for such matters are processive, but need a sustained consciousness of Christ-peace for changes to come about. Peace gives us the patience and hope to sustain wearing a mask to protect others and ourselves from the virus, and for making political changes. The Christ consciousness is always at work in the realm of peace.
Magi, Gifts and the Christ Child
One form the relationship takes is through the Magi, kings or wise men, going from the east to bring gifts to the Christ Child. The “east” represents the rising sun. Sunlight is the gift of life itself. For centuries, humans worshiped the sun. We confuse the sun with what it represents. The birthday of Jesus was chosen around Winter Solstice, when the days begin to get longer, symbolizing that this birth would bring light to the world.
The wisdom of the Magi, the kings, the wise men, is a gift for the ages—just as pertinent to us today as it was at the time of the original gift. We and our descendants can draw on this wisdom to recognize our God potential for preparing for a good future.
The gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh may be summarized as follows.
1.   Gold: Is for dominion or the way of spiritual responsibility.
2.   Frankincense: Is for spiritual transformation.
3.   Myrrh: Is for the wisdom to recognize this experience is a window of reality that does not last forever. Take advantage of this opportunity.
These are only a few of the many symbols inherent in the Christmas stories, which are available for resetting our trajectory when it seems to be heading in an unacceptable direction.
This Christmas, feel into the optimism of the season along with its joys and beauty and realize that Christmas functions like the crowning Sabbath of a year, rather than a week. You will find in your contemplation a new feeling that will reinforce the good news that the Emanuel is here, and within you. You only need to turn to It and It will respond positively in your life.