Without breaking through the profound symbolism of the Christmas Story, some people will always attack it because of negative associations. Such individuals see Christmas as the birth of a hateful religion that has led to western colonialism and a slew of wrongful biases and injustices.
Both modern Christian worshippers and atheists need to elevate their hearts and minds to grasp the “hidden meanings” of this sacred event.
When probed more deeply, the Christmas Story offers revelations about the dual and split nature of the human psyche. When Mary and Joseph are told that there is no room at the Inn for them to stay, the deeper and more relevant psycho-spiritual message is that the Lord Jesus cannot be born within us on the level of our daily and habitual minds. On such a level, we are scrambling to meet the requirements of corporeal life, and leave no room for spiritual influences in our hectic lives.
The “Manger” represents how the Lord will be born in a special secluded place, outside the hustle and bustle of normal human activities. This secluded place is on another level of human awareness, which unfortunately has been replaced by outer, terrestrial concerns and anxieties.
Those who have studied Emanuel Swedenborg’s spiritual symbolism (the science of correspondences) know that the hidden secret of the Christmas Story is that the Lord (and His teachings) are to be born in each of our hearts.
But there is an even deeper meaning to the notion of our “hearts.” This heart is a new heart (and will) that is established during the innocence of our childhood and youth. As we grow and learn the ways of the world (symbolized by the Inn in the Christmas Story) this level of innocence becomes covered over by a manufactured personality (mask).
The Lord Jesus must be born within this deeper level of our consciousness (that operates below the mask), which Swedenborg calls the “remains.” But since this spiritual birth must take place where there is innocence, one must go through a process of purification first. This requires that the more noble ideas of our worldly mind and memory make contact with our inner motives through sincere self-examination. The resulting “friction” between what we know to be right and our actions creates the heat that will allow us to fuse together our dual and divided natures and create an “inner manger” for the Lord to born within us and expand His influence. (Without this spiritual combat, vanities will enter into all our good deeds.)
May this Christmas take place within the growing innocence of your new heart!