• 1 Heading
o 1.1 Topic: Michael’s Christmas Message
o 1.2 Group: Marin TeaM
• 2 Facilitators
o 2.1 Teacher: Michael
o 2.2 TR: JL
• 3 Session
o 3.1 Opening
o 3.2 Lesson
o 3.3 Dialogue
3.3.4 Joy, Love
3.3.5 Free will
o 3.4 Closing
Topic: Michael’s Christmas Message
Group: Marin TeaM
Dear Michael and Mother Spirit, I’ve been trying to get some grasp on what is the essence of the coming holidays–or holy-days–at this time of year. I recalled the words of the carol celebrating the little town of Bethlehem, the assertion that “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight” with your birth as Jesus. It always puzzled me: what had fear to do with it? What could it mean by a meeting of hope and fear? But the more I thought of it, the more it seemed they are inextricably tied together.
It’s fear that challenges the innate hope of a living human being, yet by the same token it’s hope that allows us to conquer our fears. So your coming was the meeting of these two things. The hope that you embodied then, and now in our ways of contacting you and Mother Spirit, do give birth, do bring into consciousness those very fears and limitations that are holding us back. It’s by having faith and hope in the two of you, and in our loving connection, that we are able to meet those fears. That is the triumph of hope.
Then there’s that other essential element of the holidays–the getting together and sharing our lives. You’ve taught us the essence of divinity, of God’s intrinsic nature, is His ability to share living reality with others–the purpose for the whole creation and all the personal beings in it. This is another way we triumph over fear, by getting together and sharing our lives with each other. This too is the hallmark of the holidays that we treasure so deeply. So thank you, dear parents, for allowing us to share this time with you tonight. Amen.
(The spirit among friends)
MICHAEL: Good evening my children, this is Michael. I am very happy, very pleased to share this time with you. Mother Spirit and I once teased you with the notion that this is how one and one make three, that when two people get together and really enjoy each other, it seems there is some third thing that comes into existence. And this is real, this emerging surround of enjoying the spiritual dimension of human reality. It’s always here; you are always connected through your Thought Adjusters, through the pure spirits of God’s presence within you, but when you get together–and this might be by telephone or email or your delightful Christmas cards–however it is you get together and share your lives with each other–this is making manifest and bringing into being, acknowledging and delighting in this spiritual dimension that so often goes un-noticed.
For many this is just an inexplicable feeling good to be with a friend. It’s almost a definition of friendship–being with those people who simply delight you to be near even beyond your own ability to know why. The feeling seems to just spring up of it’s own. And it’s that springing up of life and joy within you that is, in its final analysis, inexplicable. It just happens. So much of your curiosity is directed at this happening to know why, so you can do it again, you end up simply marveling at it. This is the unfathomable wonder of friendship, this extra dimension that comes into being when you get together.
You have that rather cynical expression that misery loves company. But seen in this light, that’s a rather negative way of seeing, actually a put-down, of human nature, that when you are miserable you just want to lay it on someone else–just heap your burden on someone else. But that doesn’t really work, does it? There are burdens that are yours alone to bear, and relief cannot be found in just any kind of simple company which might only make it worse. Though misery may love company, it’s not just any company is it? Think of all the hardships the human race has known. Think of the fear and the pain you yourself have known and how it is lightened, not just by company, but by that special company you call friends.
It’s the sharing within friendship that destroys misery. It’s the very existence, the very demonstration, if you will, of the reality of friendship, of this spiritual dimension of human reality; that is what works. This is what has enabled the human race to face and conquer all the tooth and claw of the animal world, all the hardships of life–the hunger and pain and exposure–even the sure knowledge of inevitable death: all of this has been more than counter-balanced by the sheer reality of friendship.
There’s a corollary here that beauty also conquers fear. Just being in the presence of something or someone demonstrating the quality of beauty–the very existence of such a thing–mitigates that anxiety. Beauty enables a person to say, Yes I am in pain, but look at what a beautiful sunset there is; how lovely is this person here with me as we are doing all we can for each other. In each moment of life there is that which makes living worthwhile.
(The spiritual glow of humanity)
Mother Spirit and I have shared with you our experience of the human race on Urantia, and how the spiritual glow coming from all the people on this planet so enormously outshines all the pain and suffering, the fear and the anxiety, even the spiritual loneliness of some. To some degree the pain and suffering of life is unavoidable simply in being a physical being subject to the inevitable decrepitude and suffering, of even a long life, ending in inevitable death. Yet accompanying that long life is an ever growing soul, and so this transcendent reality–this cosmic reality co-authored by a presence of God–this moment by moment fulfilled purpose of life–this very reality, my children, that you can experience, this too is a that everlasting light that your Christmas carol speaks of. This is another light that illuminates the hopes and the fears of all the years, for that bright soulful illumination–the very existence of that illumination–outshines all the darkness of the human condition.
Indeed the mature human soul, having known so much life, realizes how much a part these marvelous bodies you have can give you of a feeling for time and eternity that is unique to the human races. And so this so-called animal/primitive human heritage that you must deal with in turn gives so much meaning to human life. To see things from a genuine spiritual perspective does not entail denying anything whatsoever. You have only to bite your lip or pinch your finger a tiny bit to know the reality of pain–for those of you who are not literally living in it. Yet you can see how this is not a curse. This is the most marvelous gift, this physical-ness you know. For you will come to know in time and eternity a scope of experience that no other order of being has as a personal possession. This was why, my children, one of the greatest gifts that my Father could give me was the ability to have a physical human life myself. It was, and remains, one of my most prized soul possessions.
I’ve talked a little bit about what those few forty years or so has meant to a being such as myself with hundreds of billions of years of life and endless trillions upon trillions of human children already in my past, still to experience being human as you can. There is no replacement, there is no universe substitute for this moment by moment living your human lives. That, my dear ones, is a radiance that will only grow in appreciation as you move beyond this first life of yours. It is what we mean when we say you are earning this appreciation of reality like no other being can, and this is an eternal possession of yours.
(The everlasting light)
Now see all the limitations, the possibility for pain and suffering, in this light. You begin to glimpse, even if only a tiny speck, God’s wisdom. So add this to your worship, dear ones. Thank your Father for all the irreducible aspects that go into meaning, what it means to have a human life. Even marvel at what it means when you can get together and literally create these holy-days, these holidays. What delightful excuses every religion knows to do that very thing–to set aside everything else to, fundamentally, get together and feel that extra dimension of everlasting light in which all the hopes and fears of all the years meet. This is the triumph of the human spirit and soul. This is how goodness and truth and beauty conquer fear just in your sheer experience of them–to know that such things exist. So let them remain a bit inexplicable. Let them be wondrous. Let them thrill your soul.
Merry Christmas, my dear ones. Let us look to the Source of the very reality of merriment. This too is where you find my peace. Now if you have any questions or comments this evening, let’s make merry with them.
Student: Father Michael, I have a question about worship, like, what is it? You’ve hinted from time to time, but I would like to know more explanation, if you would, please. What is worship and how do we do it?
(What is worship?)
MICHAEL: Yes my son, as you have been told, as you’ve read, the ability, even the desire–the impetus to worship and feel thankful means you have crossed over a threshold, and not only in the general sense of the dividing line between the animal and the human, but right in your own life. You have all personally crossed this threshold. Sometime as a young child you moved beyond a kind of monkey-see–monkey-do kind of behavior to make a quality of decision. You chose to do something your own creative spirit suggested and it granted you the quality of free will dignity, the dignity of being a full, if still little human being. The realization of a potential that was with you from conception finally was manifest. You experienced the dimensions of worship and wisdom in their most primal sense by this first act of choice with an upwelling feeling of the kind of joy and delight of being alive that transcends any kind of merriment an animal might know.
Even though incapable of being consciously articulated yet, my son, this was your first worship. Your joy of being alive resounded in Mother Spirit and myself, and in our Universal Father, as a profound thankfulness. This joy, this delight in just being alive gave you the recognition you have a life. Hopefully, even later, came the understanding that this life you have is somewhat unique to you. This uniqueness is your God-given personality, a further augmentation of this awareness of all that you are. And so, most fundamentally, worship is your thankfulness for being alive, and all that your soul is capable of experiencing that I touched on tonight, all the hope and all the fear.
This thankfulness is the most fundamental thing that registers directly with Mother Spirit and myself, and with our Father. Its coming was instantaneous with the presence of God within you. It was the birth of your soul. Though it had such unconscious beginnings, just a welling up within you as a small child, you crossed a threshold and became aware as you laughed and giggled and rolled around from time to time with the sheer exuberance of a young human being.
This worship, this thankfulness forms a connection with your Father–with His presence within you, and with all those positive qualities numbering in the hundreds you can experience in life. First the perception of them, and then the appreciation of all these positive qualities that come under truth and beauty and goodness; this too is worship. This too is saying, Thank you, Father, that these qualities of yours are real, and that I am such a being who can experience them, and know them, and make them my own.
This is how worship begins and gives rise to the consciousness wherein you decide to send a beam of love and thankfulness to God, to Mother Spirit and me. It can be those little mini-meditations throughout your day when you simply say, Hello God!–thank You for me. And rest in the glory of the feelings you get with His reply. Then letting His love flow through you to another; this is the most wonderful worship of all. This is sharing your worship with another in the most direct way. You’re thanking Him by being His helping hand, reaching out to touch, and be touched.
So all of these, my son, are worship–that which rises spontaneously within you and you allow to happen, all the way to the more formal prayer of thankfulness you express in your mind. It’s all worship. It’s all part of being a human being, and being aware you have so much to be thankful for. Does this give you some sense of the profound meaning, the marvelous extent all wrapped up in that one little word ?
Student: Yes, it’s a beginning. I guess I was looking for a neat little formula I could use so I wouldn’t make any mistakes about it. But I see there is none, just maybe spontaneous expressions of joy–it looks like to me.
MICHAEL: Well, you could say in one word: thankfulness.
Student: Yeah, now it seems too simple but…yes, it is.
(Creativity and personal spirit)
MICHAEL: How about: appreciation; sharing; friendship? This is what I hoped to convey this evening, how the very existence of spirit, of truth and beauty and goodness in your life–just to realize these things exist–are the proof within your own soul of their Creator, as well as your own co-creation. This realization is your own creative act of spirit, my son, and the basis for the most profound inner tranquility. It is an enormous leap of human realization and understanding to credit that–everything–that exists only exists by way of a deliberate creation, initially of God’s, then shared with all personal beings. Nothing just comes about truly spontaneously in point of origin. All creativity is of the spirit, and all spirit is personal. This is the basis for your enlightened thankfulness–your conscious appreciation, your enhanced shared joy and delight in each other, and in our Father. Is that worship enough?
Student: Yes–very much so. I expect it will get more and more expansive as time goes by.
MICHAEL: Well, my son, that’s that wonderful orientation of my Spirit of Truth within you. You’re being open to more truth and you will indeed (Michael chuckles) grow with it. Keep that orientation, and be in my peace.
Student: Thank you, Father Michael.
Student: Good evening, Michael. My question tonight is along the lines of your talking about people coming together and enjoying one another, and sharing in their spirit. I see it as a whole continuum of the way we come together. Is there, from your perspective, your mind, a time when it goes from being people coming from a deeper spiritual sharing in what we could call a religion–and how that spirit of wanting to come together and worship together… How much is there a qualitative difference between people getting together in the holidays and having a good meal versus people getting together and sharing a religious ritual together?
(Religious V.S. social events)
MICHAEL: Yes, my daughter. There is no necessary qualitative difference. There is no direct correlation between spirit and–shall we say–some relatively reoccurring event as in every religious establishment on earth, no correlation because these events can be attended almost devoid of spiritual sharing. They can be social requirements of the folks around one who demand these outward observances be made, so they can be made begrudgingly and with much inner cynicism and fraudulent emotion, and so forth. Whereas two friends getting together in the holidays after perhaps years of not seeing each other, just that kind of thing is really a holy day for them.
From our viewpoint, religion is exclusively the relationship of an individual personality to God. This is the sum total of religion. What you call your religions, your religious groupings, are the socialization, the sharing of that relationship. So there has to be this something inside, this inner life, this inner relationship with God, which Mother Spirit and I spoke about the last few times. As you say, when people with this inner sense of spirit get together, then that is the quality, the qualitative difference that may or may not coincide with so-called religious festivities. If you will, that’s
the religion within the festivities, and what these festivities hopefully help to bring about.
This is such an individual thing in its essence, my daughter, we have to keep aware of the level of generality on which I’m discussing these things. In each living son or daughter of God this relationship with his or her Creator is the basis of their religious life. It is this that is being shared, or not, in their get-togethers that denotes the truly religious character as different from other social functions, although both may be full of love and fun. Deep calls to deep, and deep responds. That is what makes the holidays truly holy days. That is the spiritual reality being experienced that fills the soul. Does this give you some sense of the inner difference between religious sharing with others as contrasted with more casual occurrences?
Student: Yes. So everyone grows and develops their own inner relationship with God, and then it’s in our nature to want to share this with one another. That’s what you taught us. That’s your religion as you practiced it.
(The delight of love)
MICHAEL: Yes, this is truly my religion, and not just the religion about me. This was what I did my best to teach my followers. It was how they themselves could directly access the presence of God within them. By doing so they could discern God’s will, and get in tune and in sync with the ultimate law of the universe. This was how they could develop their will so they could choose and execute God’s will. This is the essence, because it is spirit, my daughter, that unites. It is because you are a spiritual being that your personality has the ability to unite you inside. This, in turn, is what gives you the ability to unite with others, and to feel and experience together that which unites you all in a transcendent way. And yes, this is intrinsically joyful. This is the fun of it all. This is the delight of love–loving and being loved. Does this seem to accord with what you’ve experienced?
Student: Oh!–definitely! In many respects it seems very simple, and yet we so often make it so complicated. We try to build all these structures around it.
MICHAEL: It is nice to feel the impulse of spirit. The essence of divinity is to share oneself–what we call spiritual generosity. It’s the living, dynamic nature of God’s love that He wants to share with you, and that, having experienced this, you feel the same impulse to share it with others. This is the true origin of your religious organizations–the socialization–the desire to build societies in which you can share this most precious part of your inner reality; to make it manifest outwardly in all the good acts and joyous comings-together.
Because of geographical/cultural differences even on the very small-tribal level, this has been one of the more fundamental causes of warfare throughout human history–people literally meaning to decide on the battlefield whose God was greater than the others’. Yet this also has meant just how important this relationship has always been to people. They simply–profoundly–failed to realize their inner reality could only be offered to others; it could never be imposed. But since you are capable of imposing physical and even mental conditions on each other, the more immature and self-centered among you do make that mistake–that they can impose spiritual realities upon someone else. Freedom, freedom to choose, freedom to explore and seek God’s will, is of the very essence of His will.
And so, my dear, these get-togethers of yours, do they give you this sense of freedom?
Student: Pretty much so. I can see how there is a strong tendency to nail it all down–so to speak–and make it all just so, and get people to respond in a certain way. But it would be nice to allow people to be free–to choose to come and go in whatever they believe; it would really make a difference.
MICHAEL: Well, once you socialize your religious feelings, there is some deliberate planning involved in getting together. Since you are in such a mobile society these days, it means you are scattered around so much more now than in the past. But by the same token, you can utilize all your modern modes of transportation and communication to get together again. You begin to glimpse the meaning of meaning. But all the planning, all the shopping and buying presents for each other, all the decorations and music, all this is to lead to that moment of literally being outside yourself in the sharing, the–ex–in ecstasy, is it not? This is the laughter and the tears of joy, the profound worship, the profound thankfulness that we are! And that we are unique beings given each other–all these other unique beings surrounding us.
So I hope you do achieve this ecstasy, my daughter, because you can only, in a sense, point yourself at it, and do your best to set up the conditions that let it come into being. This is that other thing you cannot do alone, but are using Mother Spirit’s Adjutant of Counsel, or Gregariousness, that brings you together to share all this you can know.
Student: So would you say that the religious impulse that was clearly evident in your life when you simply “passed by” was also there in everyone you met–that you shared that with?
MICHAEL: Strictly for myself, back then, the ability to have others within me–within my consciousness–was, like your own, an ability I had to grow. But I can say that after my baptism and regaining my self-awareness as a Creator Son, as Michael, that was my great thrill and joy from that moment on–to totally encompass folks, whether they were aware of this or not. I think any of you who read the story of my life, either in various versions of the Christian bible or the Urantia book, were immediately struck with the fact that while some could recognize to a large degree the kind of person I was–the spiritual dimension I had, there were others who were quite blind to it. For those who were very much afraid of this spirituality, who were immediately put off by me for what threat I posed to their social or political status, there was the supreme irony of their having spent their whole lives preparing for the coming of their notion of the Messiah, yet they could not recognize him when he stood before them. It was with this supreme irony that I fulfilled prophesies.
But yes, in my later years after I had achieved my own, shall we say, self-comprehension, when I became aware–much as you do in your own moments of enlightenment, become aware of your true nature as a spiritual being; from that moment on fellow human beings do become more transparent. You are so much more capable of letting them in, and perceiving their spiritual nature as well.
Student: So in that sense, your ability was greater in spite of their unwillingness, or maybe their unawareness of who and what you were. Was their lack of spiritual maturity less of an impediment to you?
MICHAEL: Yes, my daughter, just as it is with you. Once you are aware of your own spiritual nature, you can more readily perceive this in others, and how they, as unique individuals, are manifesting–or crippled in manifesting–that hallmark of spirit–creativity. You are intuiting that the lack of inner spiritual development, which I could perceive directly, this lack of creativity was what handicapped them, and made them merely fearfully reactive. If you will, they did not have the grace of humility to open themselves to something greater than themselves, which was right within them too–their own spiritual nature. This rendered them incapable of recognizing mine–or each others’. These are the poor-in-spirit individuals who live in cynicism and see all humanity either as victors or victims, powerful users of others, or mere chumps to be used. That is their only frame of reference.
Yes, this was very clear to me. Even at the end I would have acquiesced to some of their demands that I demonstrate my powers to them, had it not meant I would be impairing their own necessary inner growth, spiritually, to do so. That was my limitation as their Creator-Father, and as yours. There is no separation with in me, my daughter, between what I cannot or will not do. These are one in me. And so I will not, I cannot acquiesce to something that will stunt your spiritual growth. It’s why Mother Spirit and I refuse to tell you what to do. (much laughter) This is for you to choose, and either enjoy or suffer the consequences. There is God’s will here–always–to discover and to choose to follow, choose to enact yourself.
Student: Thank you.
MICHAEL: Thank you, my daughter. It was exploring these real dimensions of being human that, like I said, have such a very special place in my own soul. My human life was just so precious to me, in spite of being threatened with what was quite common at that time, not only with death, but with being tortured to death. That was deemed the necessary terror with which to keep the people under control–to make death as long-suffering and agonizing as their cynical imaginations could come up with. That’s been the dark side of man’s creativity.
In spite of all that I did my best as a human being to stay true to myself and just hang on to the very end. But in doing so I discovered that will of my Father’s that transcends human suffering, even that which is deliberately inflicted one upon another. It is not only that you will survive even this kind of death, but that right in it your Father does not separate Himself from you. And even though your ability to experience this truth may also, humanly, come and go, the hope that meets that fear can abide in you, and you can know that triumph. That final triumph will be standing on all the fear of all your years. That hope is the everlasting light of spirit. And you can see that light in this life.
(God’s gift of other people)
Trust yourselves, my dear ones. This hope, this worship, this thankfulness and appreciation of whatever comes; this is your truest link, your real connection with God. In this you are most like Him. In this you can choose to join with Him to create and sustain life, first in yourself–between the two of you, and then with those others out there, those others who are also His gift to you.
So have a wondrous and joyful time. Feel for this very essence of the holidays and what makes any day truly holy. And be in my peace. Good evening.