Lesson 359
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Sign of Christmas
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The Sign of Christmas is a Star

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Course in Miracles Society

 
102 The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. See it not outside yourself but shining in the Heaven within and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come.  
 
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What Am I
WHAT AM I?
 
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    I am God's Son, complete and healed and whole,
    shining in the reflection of His Love.
    In me is His creation sanctified
    and guaranteed eternal life. In me
    is love perfected, fear impossible,
    and joy established without opposite.
    I am the holy home of God Himself.
    I am the Heaven where His Love abides.
    I am His holy Sinlessness Itself,
    for in my purity abides His own.
 
   Our use for words is almost over now.
   Yet in the final days of this one year
   we gave to God together, you and I,
   we found a single purpose that we shared.
   And thus you joined with me. So what I am
   are you as well. The truth of what we are
   is not for words to speak of nor describe.
   Yet we can realize our function here,
   and words can speak of this, and teach it, too,
   if we exemplify the words in us.
 
   We are the bringers of salvation. We
   accept our part as Saviours of the world,
   which through our joint forgiveness is redeemed.
   And this, our gift, is therefore given us.
   We look on everyone as brother, and
   perceive all things as kindly and as good.
   We do not seek a function that is past
   the gates of Heaven. Knowledge will return
   when we have done our part. We are concerned
   only with giving welcome to the truth.
 
   Ours are the eyes through which Christ's vision sees
   a world redeemed from every thought of sin.
   Ours are the ears which hear the Voice of God
   proclaim the world as sinless. Ours the minds
   which join together as we bless the world.
   And from the oneness that we have attained
   we call to all our brothers, asking them
   to share our peace and consummate our joy.
 
   We are the holy messengers of God,
   who speak for Him. And carrying His Word
   to everyone whom He has sent to us,
   we learn that It is written on our hearts.
   And thus our minds are changed about the aim
   for which we came and which we seek to serve.
   We bring glad tidings to the Son of God,
   who thought he suffered. Now is he redeemed.
   And as he sees the gate of Heaven stand
   open before him, he will enter in
   and disappear into the Heart of God.
 
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L e s s o n 359
God's answer is some form of peace. All pain is healed; all misery replaced With joy. All prison doors are opened. And all sin is understood as merely a mistake.

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    Father, today we will forgive Your world,
    and let creation be Your own. We have
    misunderstood all things. But we have no
    made sinners of the holy Sons of God.
    Whom You created sinless so abides
    forever and forever. Such are we.
    And we rejoice to learn that we have made
    mistakes which have no real effects on us.
    Sin is impossible, and on this fact
    forgiveness rests upon a certain base
    more solid than the shadow world we see.
    Help us forgive, for we would be redeemed.
    Help us forgive, for we would be at peace
.  
  
 
  
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LESSON 359
God's answer is some form of peace. All pai  
Is healed; all misery replaced with joy.
All prison doors are opened. And all sin
Is understood as merely a mistake
.


Sarah's Commentary:

We know we have received God's answer to our prayer of the heart when we have peace, when pain is healed, and when we experience joy in the place of any kind of sorrow, misery, grief, worry, and distress of any kind. This shift in the mind is what the miracle is. It is when our will, which is imprisoned by our angst, our worry, our sadness, or whatever else blocks our joy, is set free. We have the answer now because the answer is already in our minds, where it has always been. When we don't experience the miracle, we are blocking it. When the blocks to love are removed through our willingness to surrender our need to be right, our will is set free. In that freedom, we experience the Oneness with God's Will, which is our own.
 
Then, no conflict is possible. "All prison doors are opened." (W.359) The chains that have kept us bound to the ego are now released. The realization dawns on our minds that nothing that we have ever done or could ever do has changed our reality. We realize, ". . . all sin is understood as merely a mistake." (W.359) The mistake we made was to believe the lies of the ego. In other words, we listen to and believe our own thoughts. Only we can choose not to listen to what is false; and when we realize there is another way of seeing, we will recognize this choice. Acceptance of the truth within our minds comes through forgiveness when we put all that is false on the altar for healing. With this, space is made for the truth to come in. In the acceptance of the truth within, love is extended through us to all our brothers.
 
The love of this world is all special love. It is focused on those whom we believe can meet our needs. Special love has an object and it has a focus. "Ego illusions are quite specific, although the mind is naturally abstract." (T.4.VII.1.2) (ACIM OE T.4.VIII.94) We determine ". . . how, what and with whom communication is judged to be worth undertaking." (T.4.VII.4.2) (ACIM OE T.4.VIII.98) Special love thus comes with the fear of loss, and because we have focused our special love on specific people, we need to do the forgiveness work specifically with those people. Jesus will then generalize this to everyone. God's Love is non-specific. God's Love is inclusive where no one loses and there is nothing to fear; it is who we are. When this love is extended through us, freedom is given all brothers. Thus, their prison doors are opened, whether they choose to accept it as it is given, or later.
 
We see their sins are merely mistakes, just like our own. Now, instead of seeing our brother as intentionally trying to hurt us, we see someone who is mistaken and calling for our love and understanding. They know not they have another choice, as their only option seems to be to listen to the voice of the ego. They have simply forgotten who they are. The same spark is in them as is in us. Their call is our call, and when we see this, it makes a difference to how we respond. Though we may see they are intentionally causing harm, it is also because they have misunderstood who they are, just as we have. We are all the same. When we can overlook their mistakes and remember who they are, we know the same truth for ourselves as well. While no real harm is done, because it is all just a dream, and nothing can change our pristine nature, in this seeming reality we certainly can inflict harm. Thus, it is not helpful to dismiss our hurtful behavior as unimportant.
 
The Lesson reminds us that we remain as we were created. We cannot be anything but sinless because we were created in God's image, and like Him, we share in His Holiness. We are God's Son. This will dawn on our minds more and more as we do the forgiveness work, but we require help from outside of the closed system of the ego. "But there is need for help beyond yourself as you are circumscribed by false beliefs of your Identity, which God alone established in reality." (Clarification of Terms 5.1.2) When we call on the Holy Spirit, He releases the world from all we thought it was, and we experience the solid foundation of His Love. This foundation rests on reality, rather than illusion. "Sin is impossible, and on this fact forgiveness rests upon a certain base more solid than the shadow world we see." (W.359.1.7) It may seem to us that forgiveness has no real strength against a seemingly solid world. In this world, anger seems to have more power than love, but we have it backwards. The world is nothing and forgiveness has all the power of God behind it. This is so different from how we see now, but Jesus assures us that we can trust in the power of forgiveness.
 
To us, the illusion seems so very solid and intractable. God's world seems less certain and less solid. We are not sure forgiveness has the power that we give to attack. "Its whole function, in the end, is to help the patient deal with one fundamental error; the belief that anger brings him something he really wants, and that by justifying attack he is protecting himself." (Psychotherapy Pamphlet.2.IN.1.5) Yes, we have indeed made mistakes. We have hurt people intentionally. We have tried to win at our brother's expense, but none of this has changed who we are as created by God. Jesus says we should rejoice that this is so. He is not saying to deny our mistakes. It is not that we should see all our mistakes as good but only to see that they are not sins, and they can be seen as helpful for our healing. It is not about doing whatever we want and dismissing it all as just a mistake. We need to see our true motives but recognize they have no real effect on us. Therefore, we can rejoice that everything can be used to remember who we are. The only purpose this world has is to help us to return to our Self.
 
"Help us forgive, for we would be redeemed. Help us forgive, for we would be at peace." (W.359.8-9) We need the Holy Spirit's help because we have made the error real. We think real harm has happened, and thus, we believe it is too difficult to overlook. We think we must forgive others rather than our own judgments of the situation. We don't recognize that it is our guilt that is acted out in the world. To us, it seems like attack has happened and has caused real harm. All our senses give us clear evidence of this. Therefore, we need the help from Someone outside of this perceptual realm. He is the One that brings the miracle. Our part is to bring our anger, our judgments, and our hateful thoughts to Him. When we pray with sincerity for help in shifting our perception of events and move us to a changed perception, He gives us the answer. The answer is always a shift in our perception.
 
In this blessed season of Christmas, we are asked to lay all our burdens at the feet of Jesus. He asks no adulation. He has no ego. He only wants us to release our problems and issues to him that we may be freed from our prison-house. He asks that we recognize that we are like him and the birth of Christ in him is the birth we will know in ourselves as we release our guilt and fear. God's Word ". . . is written on our hearts." (W.PII.Q14.5.1) What that means is that His Word is the very fabric of our being. Our function is to discover the truth of this so we can bring this message to everyone who is sent to us. We are called to be an example of a mind that has chosen the Holy Spirit and now can bring peace. The message to our brothers is that they are sinless regardless of their mistakes. To see them as sinless means we must first see how we are judging our brother and ask for help to see him differently. This is the purpose of our time here. It is for healing of our minds so love can extend through us. It is to recognize that the law of love is to give as we would receive so that, ultimately, we can know and recognize the true nature of our being. Our true will is being expressed when peace and love are extended through us.
 
May the angels watch over us today because this can be the day in which we can experience Christ's birth in us. It is, therefore, as holy as any day can be. "Let all God's holy Thoughts surround me, and be still with me while Heaven's Son is born." (W.303.1.2)
 
The ego is loud and boisterous in us. By finding the stillness in our minds, which is symbolized by the withdrawal from the world when giving birth, the truth is welcomed in. The ego does not want peace, yet God's answer is always some form of peace. It is the place of stillness in us. It is the holy ground, the altar to truth deep in our minds, waiting to be uncovered. It means we need to take time from all of the activity and rest in God.
 
As we release the ego's darkness, we experience the light that we are. It is a question of willingness. "It is in your power to make this season holy, for it is in your power to make the time of Christ be now." (T.15.X.4.1) (ACIM OE T.15.X.94) May this day be one of peace and holiness that Jesus invites us to experience today and every day. It is a peace available to us anytime we release our grievances and allow joy back into our minds. It is the coming of the Christ Self we all share.

Love and blessings, Sarah
PAUSED FOR WEEKEND
ACIM Original Edition
#19. What is Justice?

1 Justice is the divine correction for injustice. Injustice is the basis for all the judgments of the world. Justice corrects the interpretations to which injustice gives rise and cancels them out. Neither justice nor injustice exists in Heaven, for error is impossible and correction meaningless. In this world, however, forgiveness depends on justice since all attack can only be unjust. Justice is the Holy Spirit's verdict upon the world. Except in His judgment, justice is impossible, for no one in the world is capable of making only just interpretations and laying all injustices aside. If God's Son were fairly judged, there would be no need for salvation. The thought of separation would have been forever inconceivable.
 
2 Justice, like its opposite, is an interpretation. It is, however, the one interpretation that leads to truth. This becomes possible because, while it is not true in itself, justice includes nothing that opposes truth. There is no inherent conflict between justice and truth; one is but the first small step in the direction of the other. The path becomes quite different as one goes along. Nor could all the magnificence, the grandeur of the scene and the enormous opening vistas that rise to meet one as he travels on, be foretold from the outset. Yet even these, whose splendor reaches indescribable heights as one proceeds, falls short indeed of all that awaits one when the pathway ceases and time ends with it. But somewhere one must start. Justice is the beginning.
 
3 All concepts of your brothers and yourself, all fears of future states, and all concern about the past stem from injustice. Here is the lens which, held before the body's eyes, distorts perception and brings witness of the distorted world back to the mind that made the lens and holds it very dear. Selectively and arbitrarily is every concept of the world built up in just this way. "Sins" are perceived and justified by this careful selectivity in which all thought of wholeness must be lost. Forgiveness has no place in such a scheme, for not one "sin" but seems forever true.
 
4 Salvation is God's justice. It restores to your awareness the wholeness of the fragments you perceive as broken off and separate. And it is this that overcomes the fear of death. For separate fragments must decay and die, but wholeness is immortal. It remains forever and forever like its Creator, being one with Him. God's Judgment is His justice. Onto this-a judgment wholly lacking in condemnation, an evaluation based entirely on love-you have projected your injustice, attributing to God the lens of warped perception through which you look. Now it belongs to Him and not to you. You are afraid of Him and do not see you hate and fear your Self as enemy.
 
5 Pray for God's justice, and do not confuse His mercy with your own insanity. Perception can make whatever picture the mind desires to see. Remember this. In this lies either Heaven or hell, as you elect. God's justice points to Heaven just because it is entirely impartial. It accepts all evidence that is brought before it, omitting nothing and assessing nothing as separate and apart from all the rest. From this one standpoint does it judge, and this alone. Here all attack and condemnation becomes meaningless and indefensible. Perception rests, the mind is still, and light returns again. Vision is now restored. What had been lost has now been found. The peace of God descends on all the world and we can see. And we can see!
 
 
#20. What is the Peace of God?

1 It has been said that there is a kind of peace that is not of this world. How is it recognized? How is it found? And being found, how can it be retained? Let us consider each of these questions separately, for each reflects a different step along the way.
 
2 First, how can the peace of God be recognized? God's peace is recognized at first by just one thing---in every way it is totally unlike all previous experiences. It calls to mind nothing that went before. It brings with it no past associations. It is a new thing entirely. There is a contrast, yes, between this thing and all the past. But strangely, it is not a contrast of true differences. The past just slips away and in its place is everlasting quiet. Only that. The contrast first perceived has merely gone. Quiet has reached to cover everything.
 
3 How is this quiet found? No one can fail to find it who but seeks out its conditions. God's peace can never come where anger is, for anger must deny that peace exists. Who sees anger as justified in any way or any circumstance proclaims that peace is meaningless and must believe that it cannot exist. In this condition peace cannot be found. Therefore forgiveness is the necessary condition for finding the peace of God. More than this, given forgiveness there must be peace. For what except attack will lead to war? And what but peace is opposite to war? Here the initial contrast stands out clear and apparent. Yet when peace is found, the war is meaningless. And it is conflict now that is perceived as non-existent and unreal.
 
4 How is the peace of God retained once it is found? Returning anger in whatever form will drop the heavy curtain once again, and the belief that peace cannot exist will certainly return. War is again accepted as the one reality. Now must you once again lay down your sword, although you may not recognize that you have picked it up again. But you will learn, as you remember even faintly now what happiness was yours without it, that you must have taken it again as your defense. Stop for a moment now, and think of this: is conflict what you want, or is God's peace the better choice? Which gives you more? A tranquil mind is not a little gift. Would you not rather live than choose to die?
 
5 Living is joy, but death can only weep. You see in death escape from what you made. But this you do not see---that you made death, and it is but illusion of an end. Death cannot be escape because it is not life in which the problem lies. Life has no opposite, for it is God. Life and death seem to be opposites because you have decided that death ends life. Forgive the world, and you will understand that everything which God created cannot have an end, and nothing He did not create is real. In this one sentence is our course explained. In this one sentence is our practicing given its one direction. And in this the Holy Spirit's whole curriculum is specified exactly as it is.
 
6 What is the peace of God? No more than this-the simple understanding that His Will is wholly without opposite. There is no thought that contradicts His Will yet can be true. The contrast between His Will and yours but seemed to be reality. In truth there is no conflict because His Will is yours. Now is the mighty Will of God Himself His gift to you. He does not seek to keep it for Himself. Why would you seek to keep your tiny, frail imaginings apart from Him? The Will of God is one and all there is. This is your heritage. The universe beyond the sun and stars and all the thoughts of which you can conceive belong to you. God's peace is the condition for His Will. Attain His peace, and you remember Him.
 

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