Minute Meditations

The Many Layers of Christmas

Christmas has many rich layers: warm memories of my family from childhood; the brilliant, lighted and festive Christmas Mass; carols and other music associated with the season and somehow of the highest quality; and the theology of incarnation—living a spiritual life deep in the ordinary world. For our lives, incarnation means being focused on the spiritual and the eternal but bringing that focus deep into life. It also means having the capacity to be both carnal and spiritual, in love with life and yet able to connect with the eternal and the divine. This is really the heart of the Christmas theological message: Live in two worlds that overlap but are distinct. Don’t be a materialist, but don’t sacrifice your ordinary physical life for any spiritual ideal. Be lowly and lofty. This teaching, like all good theology, is not aimed only at those who dedicate themselves to the Gospel teaching, but to all people, from believers to skeptics. If you take Christmas to heart and get past the anxieties in arranging for gifts and parties, you will rediscover yourself every year at this time and experience a birth in yourself, just like the one so beautifully described in the Gospel stories. It will be a celebration of both the birth of Jesus and the birth of your own soul. 

—from the book The Soul of Christmas by Thomas Moore


Soul of Christmas


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