Growing Together in the Light

A place for Friends and others to explore Quakerism. A place where, in the Light that comes from God, we may all grow and where we may hope to find a unity that underlies our diversity of language.

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Location: Arlington, Massachusetts, United States

Raised a Friend, I am currently a member of Fresh Pond Meeting in Cambridge, Mass. I am also active in Salem Quarterly Meeting and in New England Yearly Meeting.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas and the Adult Christ

At Christmas time Quakers, like the rest of Christiandom celebrate the infant Christ, the new baby laying in the manger. At least for me, it conjures images of the beginnings of spiritual growth. It is a celebration of those first glimmers of spiritual awakening, a spark of Light in the long night of darkness that can be felt.

But is that all there is? Is it only about the infant Christ? The first breaths of the Christ within when, in the awesomeness of discovery we come and worship and offer our gifts. What about later, when the Inner Christ has grown into a toddler and needs to be disciplined? When we need to learn that all promptings in our heart are not from God? When we learn that we need to know better the voice of God so we know when to follow and when to say no? What about when the Inner Christ is just learning to speak and the words are not clear? We need to listen closely and engage in conversation so that the growing spiritual child will learn to speak clearly. Do we, in our lives and our meetings, celebrate this growth, and share our experiences, and help each other with a kind and gentle hand?

What about when the infant Christ has grown within us and has become the adult Christ? Are we willing to share an adult, fully grown faith with each other? Can we learn to speak with the spiritual voice of a mature adult and not just in the tentative words of the spiritual infant?

Perhaps because so many modern Friends come from other backgrounds and traditions, the voice of the seeker seems more prevalent than the voice of the mature finder. So as we celebrate this season with stories of the birth of Jesus, let us remember that birth is not the end point of our spiritual lives, any more than childbirth is the essence of parenting. These are only starting points. The goal of parenting is to raise adults who are loving and caring and have the strength and skills to face the challenges of their lives. So with our spiritual lives, the goal is not just a spiritual rebirth, but to have the inner Christ grow within us to be a everyday guide, comfort and support, to have the presence of God a part of everything we do, and to share the fruits of that growth with the people around us and in the wider world.

Blessings to all.

Merry Christmas

Will T.

5 Comments:

Blogger Liz Opp said...

Wonderful food for thought, Will. Have a spirited holyday.

Blessings,
Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

December 25, 2007 3:25 PM  
Anonymous Emelyn said...

Thanks, Will
Ive been thinking about George Fox's comment that we must take Christ out of that stable, and enthrone Him in our hearts. (Christian Faith and Practice, 1959, section 161.) That got me to thinking that Americans prefer the infant Jesus because he's so cute, and he doesn't challenge us the way the adult Jesus does.

December 26, 2007 8:28 PM  
Anonymous qspirit@mac.com said...

Thanks for this, Will.

It does seem to me that so many Friends have a spiritual Peter Pan syndrome; we want to remain the child and never become the adult. We are like adolescents who can not make a decision about what we want to be "when we grow up," or young adults who cannot deal with the uncertainties around developing permanent and lasting relationships. Things, or people, look good to us but the doubts develop, the nagging doubts we cannot resolve intellectually, the "yes--but" doubts that will never be resolved except through commitment and faith. So we look for another faith (even with the same Society) or for another potential partner.

"On the Road."

"On the Road, Again."

Was it Cromwell who wrote that the only thing more blest than a Seeker was one who had found?

December 27, 2007 12:20 AM  
Anonymous Paul R said...

Thank you Friend Will.

I have enjoyed your blogs particularly the Christmas
and Adult Christ.

You said,'' What about when the infant Christ has grown within us and has become the adult Christ? Are we willing to share an adult, fully grown faith with each other? Can we learn to speak with the spiritual voice of a mature adult and not just in the tentative words of the spiritual infant''?

In the scriptures we read, ‘’And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with
wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. . (Luke 2:46)

My prayer for Religious Society of Friends in the New Year is that
we will continue to follow the example of Jesus to grow and
became strong filled with wisdom and know that the grace of God
is upon us.

December 29, 2007 12:01 PM  
Blogger Allison said...

This is Christian but not specifically Quaker material, I read it this morning at breakfast since I am at my parents' (Episcopalians) house. However, I think it is an excellent sermon on the true meaning of Christmas and what we are called to do - become Christlike by being radical lovers of all humanity like Jesus, the miracle.

http://www.cathedral.org/cathedral/worship/jbc051225.html

December 29, 2007 12:04 PM  

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