As we approach Christmas, Christians anticipate the coming of Jesus in the intimate form of a baby, innocent and vulnerable. While the familiar Christmas story stands in stark contrast to the hype and commercialism that accompanies the season, for many of us, the commercial façade eventually fades and a real encounter takes place.
With regard to encountering Jesus during meditation, the book “Christian Tantric Meditation Guide” says:
“As we relax, we picture Jesus in our minds. Our friend, our teacher, and our comforter, Jesus is the One who loves us unconditionally. Jesus may appear in robes, He may appear sitting in front of us or next to us, He may appear very close, comforting and embracing us. Jesus may appear as we have seen in pictures or artistic renditions, or Jesus may appear in a different form. Jesus may even appear in female form, if we need Jesus to. Some of us have been deeply hurt by men in our lives. Jesus understands, and Jesus will come to us in any form we need in order to share God’s unconditional love.”
Recently, while practicing Christian Tantric Meditation, the vision I experienced was Jesus as a homeless person. Recently while visiting San Francisco, I encountered fully bearded homeless men with nut brown tans laying in the grass in parks. This was the Jesus I experienced during meditation. Some time later, I was working with a group of men in recovery when the meditation encounter resurfaced in my memory. I smiled to myself as I recognized that Jesus was among this group, reaching out to me and speaking to me, even as I worked with them.
On another occasion, while meditating I heard the voices of my family in the kitchen. Usually distractions don’t connect with my consciousness while meditating, but I heard these voices while I was practicing Divine Communion, visualizing Jesus. When I heard their voices, I recognized Jesus, reaching through them to connect with me in a warm and familiar way.
On yet another occasion, I experienced Jesus in a comforting embrace. The experience was intimate and much needed at the time, and I found my eyes tearing up in spontaneous reaction to the encounter.
Of course, meditation is one of many ways to encounter Jesus. It seems that every year, the Spirit of Christmas, the Spirit of Christ, eventually becomes a part of us. Some of us encounter the Spirit while writing cards and remembering friends and loved ones who are living away from us, some at church as the candles of Advent are lit, and for some the Spirit arrives with a glimpse of a child on a Mall Santa’s lap, eyes bright with hope and anticipation.
Whatever the reason or the situation, whether through quiet contemplation, joyful encounters with friends and family, or even in sharing a moment with a stranger, if we open ourselves to the encounter, the Spirit will come.
And this is my prayer for this Season, that we may all encounter the Prince of Peace, in whatever form that touches our hearts. Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, Come.
Christmas Blessings from Ecumenical Christian Wellness Ministries.