Reverend Pat Bailey: the deeper meaning of the holiday, part 3 of series

Reverend Pat Bailey: the deeper meaning of the holiday, part 3 of series

[click “Play” to hear the final interview about Christmas with Rev. Pat Bailey]


kicker: Final interview of series on Christmas Eve. Merry holiday.

CPC - Christmas Eve 2009 006 Telluride Inside… and Out continues with its mini-series about Christmas, interviewing Reverend Pat Bailey of Telluride’s Christ Church on the subject of the holiday that’s becoming a hot potato, from its name to its meaning.

Despite the beliefs about Christ that relate to the birth stories – although, as Pat pointed out earlier, the earliest writings of the New Testament are the letters of Paul, and Paul seems to have no knowledge of a virgin birth – the church did not observe a festival for the celebration of Christmas until the 4th century, a date chosen to counter the pagan festivities connected with the winter solstice. In fact, the birth of Christ coincides with Saturnalia, a pagan winter solstice ritual. Solstice marks the sun’s descent into darkness, heralding the start of winter. Days later, the sun starts ascending in the heavens again, where it resides for another year. In its simplest expression, Christmas is about light, whether it is the natural light of the sun that nourishes from without or the metaphorical Holy Light – or holy light –  that nourishes and heals from within. Ot is it?

Did Christmas and the Christ stories grow out of pagan beliefs? Are these stories truly extraordinary and supernatural or do they describe something that is real and true primarily in our own experiencing? What does Christ, the Holy Light, symbolize? Is He an offset to social wealth and power and/or a symbol of divine or sacred presence in human life and creation, a phenomenon non-Christians might describe as Cosmic Consciousness or Brahman or by many other names. All of the above and more? And how might the Christmas stories speak to us of both immanence and transcendence?

On Christmas Eve day, click the “play” button and listen to what Pat has to say in this, his final talk in the holiday series.

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