This coming Sunday kicks off the third week of the 2017 Advent Season, and the theme for the week is Love. Faith and Peace were the respective themes of the first two weeks of Advent; and, Joy will be the theme for the climactic week of Advent, which starts on Christmas Eve this year. Today, as I write this article, we are actually still in the Peace week of Advent.
If you have been following my blog articles this year, then you know that, for me, Peace and Love are inseparable. Quite literally, without Love, Peace is impossible. Love is the cause. Peace is the effect or consequence. The expression of Love creates the experience of Peace. However, not just any old garden variety expression of Love, but rather, a specific form of Love, which for our purposes today, we will call the Love of Christ.
Jesus & The Gospel of Christ Love
If the entire essence of Jesus’ teaching were to be distilled into a single word, love would be that word. Time and again, Jesus called us to love. He modeled for us how we are to love. To love God, one another, our own selves, and even our enemies. More than this, Jesus fully demonstrated the “Christ Love” we are in our essence. The entire purpose of Jesus’ life was to reveal the Christ essence that we all are. Jesus knew fully what we are still learning, which is that the indwelling Christ Presence within our own being is the nexus point of our connection with God. Identifying with the Christ within is how we connect with God, and, by extension, fully manifest our divine potential.
As Eric Butterworth wrote in his book, Discover The Power Within You, Jesus was the “great example,” not the “great exception.” The same Christ essence that was in Jesus is also within you and me, and also within every other person on the planet, past, present and future. We all are Christ in potential, and Jesus’ “great example” taught us that what He could do, we could do.
We are all capable of expressing Christ Love, not just some of us, but all of us. This is the “good news” (or Gospel) that Jesus brought to the planet. However, in order to express our fullest capacity for Christ Love as Jesus did, we must release attachment to our personality consciousness, and identify only with our Christ consciousness.
Jesus & The Greatest Commandment
Jesus knew intimately that his only true identity was found in his connection to, and identification with, God. This is why when he was asked what was the “greatest commandment,” he authoritatively answered that it was “to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
At the time this question was posed to Jesus, there was considerable factionalism within the Jewish community. The debate was intense, with many competing groups all arguing over which of the many “laws” of worship was the greatest. By asking the question, the powers that be hoped to ensnare Jesus into either breaking the law, or perhaps revealing his alignment with one of the competing factions within the community.
However, sensing the trap being laid to ensnare him, Jesus’ answer was indisputable, neither breaking the law, nor aligning with any of the competitive factions. By declaring that to love God with all of your heart, soul and mind was the greatest commandment, Jesus foiled his adversaries. There was no one who could counter his answer, because there was no answer that could be greater, or more true.
Loving Your Neighbor As Yourself
In the same instance, and without any prompting, Jesus added to his answer by offering that the “second greatest commandment” is like the first: love your neighbor as yourself. Of course, the kind of love that Jesus is pointing to is not the love born of human desire, or personality, but rather the Love of Christ that He had come to manifest and demonstrate.
“But love yourself with the Love of Christ, for so does your Father love you.” – A Course In Miracles T-11.IV.6
Jesus knew that to “love God” is to love the self in the highest sense. Further, He knew that “God, the Father” also loves us with the same Love of Christ that Jesus modeled. So, loving our neighbor as our own self is the same as loving God. If we seek to love God first, above all else, then loving our neighbor as our own self is a given.
It should not be hard to see that loving our enemies certainly goes beyond the capacity of our personality self, since it is the personality (or ego) that makes our enemies in the first place. However, if we truly commit ourselves to love God above all else, then we would not even be making enemies. This is only possible through the Love of Christ.
Love One Another As I Have Loved You
Even at the very end of his earthly ministry, and staring at his pending arrest, trial and crucifixion, Jesus continued to teach the gospel of Christ Love. At the Last Supper, Jesus demonstrated his capacity for Christ Love as he washed the feet of His disciples. Embarrassed that he would do such a lowly task, Peter objects, and at first refuses to let Jesus perform this humble act. Jesus counters that unless Peter allows Him to wash his feet, then Peter has no place in Jesus’ life.
“This is My commandment to you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” – John 15:12
Jesus understood what the disciples had yet to fully learn, which is that only those who are willing to humble themselves in service to others are fully capable of demonstrating the Love of Christ. More than any other lesson He taught, Jesus knew that only the unconditional Love of Christ was capable of transforming our lives. It is the Love of Christ that calls us to a “higher expression” of our capacity for love.
What The World Needs Now Is Christ Love
Only when we fully live and breathe in the energy of Christ Love do we become capable of radiating the fullest measure of our divine potential. When we express the Love of Christ, we expand our capacity for compassion, understanding and gratitude. In the energy of Christ Love, we are able to create and experience joy and peace in our lives.
As we do so, we model that for others to do in their own lives. This is how the Love of Christ changes lives and transforms our experience in the world. The Love of Christ always inspires us to a higher expression. Every time we extend love to others, we are expressing our capacity for Christ Love.
“The Love of Christ will light your face, and shine from it into a darkened world that needs the light.” – ACIM, T-22.IV.3
In this year’s Advent Season, allow yourself to be present to this potential, to be open to the opportunities available in each moment to be the Love of Christ in the world. If we do so, then come Christmas morning, we may find that we have given birth to a “new dimension” within ourselves that is capable of shining the Light and Love of Christ into a world that needs it now more than ever.