The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the
Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be
born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.—Luke 1: 35
Jesus of Nazareth was almost certainly not born on
December 25. The date was not chosen by the early Church
for its historical accuracy, but for its deeper, metaphysical
resonance: the interplay of light and darkness that are the
focus of this uniquely powerful time of year because of the
It’s the birth of a new expression of the Divine that we
truly celebrate—not just in Jesus, but in each of us. As with
all of our important spiritual truths, we share and describe
them most powerfully and effectively through stories.
Most of us in the Western world are familiar with the
story of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. Every
year, as surely as we dust off and place the shepherds,
animals, three wise men, Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus
in our mangers (or in our minds), we revisit the world
of Scrooge, Marley, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and those
somewhat alarming Christmas spirits.
The story has been filmed many times. It has been
updated, satirized, and adapted for the stage. It has become
a part of our collective consciousness. When that happens,
it always means we’re sharing something more than an
entertaining story. We’re sharing a piece of spiritual Truth
for ourselves—and passing it along to our children.
It seems to me that A Christmas Carol is as much
about a birth as the other beloved Christmas story from
Luke. Mary is visited by the angel Gabriel. Scrooge is
visited by the ghost of his deceased business partner
Marley, and their messages are quite similar: Things
have to change. Something new must be born—in
Scrooge or in all of humankind.
This leads into the visits of the three Christmas
ghosts—of Christmas past, of Christmas present, and of
Christmas future. They make Scrooge realize that choices
have consequences, and his particular choices have had
consequences far beyond what he might have intended.
The ghost of Christmas present has with him two symbolic
orphans—Want and Ignorance—and these, it would seem,
are the most dangerous consequences of Scrooge’s greed
Then comes the awakening. Scrooge is afraid it’s too
late; but it is, indeed, still Christmas morning. His rebirth
is perfectly timed. He responds by beginning at once to
make new choices, which have an immediate impact on
It would be foolish to suggest that A Christmas Carol
owes its enduring power to its historical accuracy. The same
is true of Luke’s nativity story. To insist on approaching this
beautiful story as literal history diminishes its power and
It is, in fact, the story of the birth of Christ consciousness
that will come into expression through Jesus of Nazareth.
That promise—the promise that each of us will be called
to give birth, to bring a new dimension of Spirit into
expression—requires no input, no permission from any
other mortal energy. It is simply the beautifully told Truth
about our personal Oneness with the Divine.
Whether from a cradle in Bethlehem or from
19th-century London, from a newborn baby or from
Tiny Tim, the Christmas message is clear: “God bless us,
A Tale of Two Christmas Stories
Metaphysical meanings behind the Bible and other scriptures
REV. ED TOWNLEY IS A UNITY MINISTER
AND THE FOUNDER OF SPIRIT EXPRESSING,
A CENTER COMMITTED TO EXPLORING THE
CREATIVE POWER OF SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLES,
IN MANCHESTER, CONNECTICUT. VISIT
THE SPIRIT OF SCRIPTURE
THINGS HAVE TO CHANGE.
SOMETHING NEW MUST BE
BORN—IN SCROOGE OR IN
ALL OF HUMANKIND.