The additional details that the Cayce readings bring to the Gospel story of Christmas combine to give us a more complete and comprehensive picture of the sweeping cosmic drama involved with its interplay of supernatural forces, dedicated individuals and extraordinary circumstances, all leading to its joyful and glorious conclusion in the birth of the Christ child in a stable in a small town in southern Judea. In its totality it is an informative and inspiring account of the power and presence of divine love, coupled with human faith, self-sacrifice, courage and commitment to a spiritual ideal that spanned ages past. Yet it is also imbued with a timeless dimension and a transcendental nature that can nourish all who seek His light in the present.
The sacred history revealed in Cayce’s telling of the story of Christmas not only gives us a greater appreciation of the purpose behind the birth of the child Jesus and that soul’s eventual role as the fullest expression of the true relationship between God and man, it also has the potential to awaken in us the awareness of our own need to give birth to the highest within ourselves, that we too may become as He was, an expression of God’s love in the ways and days of our lives. As we explore this story from the perspective of the Cayce material we may find that we are led into a greater appreciation of its ‘breadth and depth’ for us at this time in our lives. While the historical account should not be ignored, the birth of the child Jesus in Bethlehem as a pivotal event in the spiritual evolution of mankind remains supremely significant for all of us, we need also to open our minds and hearts to its metaphysical nature and aspects of it that apply to us on a more immediate and personal level. Here again the Cayce material has much to offer by way of emphasizing its universal significance for us as individual souls; spiritual beings living in the earth and seeking our way back to conscious union with God.
A series of readings given in the late 1930s/early40s for Thomas Sugrue, the author of the original Cayce biography There is a River, and a few other readings given to individuals who in past lives were involved in the preparation for and arrival of the Christ child, provide most of the descriptive details not mentioned in the Gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus. It was in answering questions posed by the first Search for God study group in Norfolk that the Cayce source elaborated on the deeper meaning and significance the event has for each of us on a personal level.
While concurring with the Gospel account of the purpose behind the journey to this small town south of Jerusalem, namely to be registered for a new Roman tax, the Thomas Sugrue readings make a passing reference to the spiritual education and preparation that Mary, from the age of four until sixteen, underwent in the Essene community on Mount Carmel. The Essenes we learn elsewhere were a reclusive Jewish religious sect of both men and women that embraced the teachings of the Jewish prophets from Elijah onwards and accepted astrology, the study of solar cycles, numerology and reincarnation as part of a broader understanding of the interaction between the divine and the human experience. As a result of the knowledge gained they were aware of the cyclical time-frame associated with the ancient prophecy concerning the coming of the Messiah and of the necessity for creating those conditions conducive to its fulfilment. For that purpose they undertook, under the supervision of their leader Judy, the instruction of a chosen group of young girls who were offered by their parents for the purpose of one of them becoming the vessel through which there might be the birth. In Mary’s case she was four years of age when her mother Anne presented her to the Essenes. She, along with some of the other novitiates, later freely choose to dedicate herself to this ideal. We learn that she was about twelve years of age when she was chosen. It was sunrise as she and the other maidens ascended the alter steps of the Essene temple for morning prayer when the angel Gabriel appeared and took her hand to lead her forward.
The marriage between the older Joseph, who was an Essene associate, did not take place until Mary was sixteen. It also took place on Mount Carmel. The Cayce account also confirms the Gospel version of the visit of Mary with her much older cousin Elizabeth, who was also a believer in the Essene teachings, in the hills of Judea. Here the angel Gabriel again appeared to her.
The couple arrived in Bethlehem after a journey of several days during which there were delays due to Mary’ advanced condition. It was a cool evening on what would be either January 6th or March 19th in the year 4AD. The discrepancy in the dating given in different readings is due apparently to the several changes in the accounting of time since then and the soul record of the individual seeking the information. We are told that the road to Bethlehem was quite crowded with shepherds, husbandmen and others coming in from the hills of Judea to be registered for taxation. Mary and Joseph were not alone but were accompanied by some of Joseph’s assistants and others.
In the meantime the inn had become crowded with an assortment of other travellers and officials whose presence and behaviour made the inn unsuitable for the event that some had hoped would take place there. Laughter and jeers greeted Joseph on his arrival with his much younger and very pregnant wife. So it was for the purpose of protecting them from further abuse and the disturbing conditions inside for such an occasion that Apsafar, the innkeeper, who was also an associate of the Essenes, felt it best to turn the couple away. Immediately those with the couple and who were aware of the urgency involved looked for a place where shelter and privacy could be quickly found. As a result Mary and Joseph took refuge in a stable set in one of the hillside caves nearby.
“Then, when hope seemed gone, the herald angels sang. The star appeared that made the wonderment to the shepherds, that caused the awe and consternation to all of those about the inn; some making fun, some smitten with conviction that those unkind things said must needs be readjusted in relationship to things coming to pass. All were in awe as the brightness of His star appeared and shone, as the music of the spheres brought that joyful choir, PEACE ON EARTH1 GOOD WILL TO MEN OF GOOD FAITH. All felt the vibrations and saw a great light, not only the shepherds above the stable but those in the inn as well. To be sure those condition were later to be dispelled by the doubters, who told the people they had been overcome with wine or what not. Just as the midnight hour came, there was the birth of the Master.”( 5749-15).
The innkeeper’s wife and daughter were soon on the scene as were the shepherds who had been on the hillside and had seen and heard the unusual occurrences. We are also told in the Cayce references to the birth that the daughter, who was of a similar age as Mary, was the first person to hold the infant Jesus after Mary and that the whole experience had a profound effect on her life. We also learn that although all kinds of assistance were offered, Mary preferred to remain in the cavern until after there had been the circumcision and the customary period of purification had passed.
When we turn to a reading requested by the Norfolk study group for a deeper understanding of the birth of Jesus, the Christ, we are presented with an opening comment that immediately suggests a transcendental perspective. “For time never was when there was not a Christ and not a Christ mass.”( 262-103). From here on we are drawn into a more metaphysical interpretation of the event. After acknowledging the historical account as written up in Luke’s Gospel, Cayce stresses that the perfect concept of what the birth means can only be known by those who seek to experience what such an advent means in their own lives.
Reference is made to the difference between the knowledge of an event and the wisdom embedded in it; which in this case was the desire of the soul that was Jesus to give the more perfect concept of the relationship of mankind to the Creator, as was also the case with Mary. It is pointed out that there is a lesson here for all of us, namely the willingness to become a channel for the expression of God’s love in the world. So the various aspects of the preparation for the coming of the Christ child are in themselves pointers to us for the work of bringing about the birth in ourselves of that same divine consciousness.
In this sense we may well ask ourselves some of these leading questions drawn from the story. How are we preparing spiritually, mentally and physically for the coming of the Christ child within us? Do we try to purify the body, discipline the mind and bring about a holistic balance between the spiritual, mental and physical so that we may become better vessels for the indwelling of God’s presence in us? Do we periodically take ourselves apart from the world, as in daily meditation or in other ways that allow us to become more attuned to the Divine? Are we engaged with a persistent spiritual practise, individually or as part of a group or church, that by its nature draws us closer to the Christ? Do we exercise the faith that is required of us to enter upon that journey that results in a new birth? Do we seek God by drawing close to nature? Do we pay attention to those dreams, inner promptings and intuitive insights, the angelic influences that beckon us to follow the light, the heavenly star that shines within us? Time and again the individuals in the group that sought this information were advised and encouraged to seek to be channels, each according to their abilities, for the loving expression of the universal Creative Forces.
The readings emphasize that is in our positive responses to such questions posed by the Bethlehem story that today or tomorrow the Christ may be born into our consciousness. “For He was thy Elder Brother, He is the babe in thy heart, in thy life, to be then even now, as then, nourished in the heart, in body, in mind….For as He chose to enter, so ye have entered. As He chose to live, so may ye live….And as these changes come about and as ye make known that as has been the raising of that consciousness of His presence in thine experience, by thy dealings with, by thy conversation with, by thy life with thy fellow man, so may ye hasten the day when He, Christ, may come into thine own heart, unto His own peoples, to reign; yes, in the hearts and lives….Then what are ye doing about it in thy daily life, thy daily conversation? For not by might, nor in power, but in the still small voice that speaks within, ye may know as He hath given so oft, ‘Peace, it is I! Be not afraid, it is I, thy Saviour, thy Christ; yea, THYSELF meeting that BABE in thine own inner self that may grow even as He to be a channel of blessings to others.” ( 262-103)
These readings repeatedly reminded those seeking this information that the birth of the Christ did not just occur some 2000 years ago but continued to be a living reality again and again in the lives of individuals ever since and that they too could be participants in this great unfolding drama that is the coming into the earth, through all of us, of the universal Christ consciousness.
So, as we celebrate this sacred season we may find it most helpful to our own progress on the path to meditate on that commitment, dedication and willingness to serve that brought Joseph and Mary to a time and place in a distant land where, in spite of difficult and demanding material circumstances, His light was seen and He chose to be born so as to manifest the love of God and man.
Mark Finnan www.markfinnan.com