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The Secret God

As we approach Christmas some of us begin to think we know what is coming. A child born in poverty. Christmas carols by candlelight. Christmas trees... Are you feeling sleepy? That's right, we all think we know the Christmas story so well. Wake me up when it's over.

I've been reading an extraordinary book by the psychologist Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Jung's father was a clergyman and Jung writes about how, as a child, he began to find the traditions and conventions of his father's church more and more dangerous to his own intuitive faith. Jung writes how a lot of church, to him, felt like people talking about rumours of a God nobody actually experienced and therefore did not authentically believe in.

But Jung's own inner spiritual experience told another story. Jung writes of knowing God, 'as a hidden, personal, and at the same time supra-personal secret. Here nothing separated man from God; indeed it was as though the human mind looked down upon Creation simultaneously with God.'

As we approach Christmas perhaps sit light to the candles and the tree. Listen to the story of God's birth among us but try to move beyond the words, to the Word born within us. There is a known 'God' which is sometimes rather drearily proclaimed by an anxious, shallow and distracted Church, worrying about its relevance, and there is a secret God. This secret God is not known, out of this secrecy comes a richness, a power, a beauty that is beyond the reach of our stale words. It is this secret God that waits to be encountered within the known contours of the Christmas story.

Mary knew this secret God. This was the God that interrupted her apparently ordinary story. This was the God who was met at the centre of who she was and was born in her. May we, like Mary, meet this secret God and bring this God to birth in our lives.

Happy Christmas.




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