Wise men in search of inner wisdom are told to journey to Bethlehem. In each case, the outward journey is undertaken only because those who do so realise that it is representative of a journey inwards. Without this subliminal awareness, they would not have any reason to undertake such a journey.The whole point of the Christmas narrative is not so much to record history, as to reveal the reality of God’s presence among us. It is a presence that we can recognise only if we journey within, to Bethlehem in the cave of our heart. It is the road to non-duality. God is with us and in us.The principal characters prompt us to nurture within us, their own attitudes which resulted in the discovery of true peace and inner joy. For a start, Mary and Joseph enter a Cloud of Unknowing, so essential for the genuine seeker. The scriptures emphasise that both ‘did not understand’ what they were being presented with. Yet they journeyed in faith, taking the road to Bethlehem when it would be more convenient not to do so. It means going beyond appearances to the One Reality that lies beyond them. The inner eye of the heart needs to be opened.This explains why despite difficulties, rejection and non-recognition they encountered, they kept going on the road. Christmas does not make our problems vanish; it enables us to transform them by transcending them. We cease defining ourselves by them and can find joy in suffering.Christopher Mendonca
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