X. The Time of Rebirth
1. It is in your power, in time, to delay the perfect union of the Father and the Son. For in this world, the attraction of guilt does stand between them. Neither time nor season means anything in eternity. But here it is the Holy Spirit’s function to use them both, though not as the ego uses them. This is the season when you would celebrate my birth into the world. Yet you know not how to do it. Let the Holy Spirit teach you and let me celebrate your birth through Him. The only gift I can accept of you is the gift I gave to you. Release me as I choose your own release. The time of Christ we celebrate together, for it has no meaning if we are apart.
2. The holy instant is truly the time of Christ. For in this liberating instant no guilt is laid upon the Son of God, and his unlimited power is thus restored to him. What other gift can you offer me, when only this I choose to offer you? And to see me is to see me in everyone and offer everyone the gift you offer me. I am as incapable of receiving sacrifice as God is, and every sacrifice you ask of yourself you ask of me. Learn now that sacrifice of any kind is nothing but a limitation imposed on giving. And by this limitation you have limited acceptance of the gift I offer you.
3. We who are one cannot give separately. When you are willing to accept our relationship as real, guilt will hold no attraction for you. For in our union you will accept all of our brothers. The gift of union is the only gift that I was born to give. Give it to me, that you may have it. The time of Christ is the time appointed for the gift of freedom, offered to everyone. And by your acceptance of it, you offer it to everyone.
4. It is in your power to make this season holy, for it is in your power to make the time of Christ be now. It is possible to do this all at once because there is but one shift in perception that is necessary, for you made but one mistake. It seems like many, but it is all the same. For though the ego takes many forms, it is always the same idea. What is not love is always fear, and nothing else.
5. It is not necessary to follow fear through all the circuitous routes by which it burrows underground and hides in darkness, to emerge in forms quite different from what it is. Yet it is necessary to examine each one as long as you would retain the principle that covers all of them. When you are willing to regard them, not as separate, but as different manifestations of the same idea, and one you do not want, they go together. The idea is simply this: You believe it is possible to be host to the ego or hostage to God. This is the choice you think you have, and the decision you believe that you must make. You see no other alternatives, for you cannot accept the fact that sacrifice gets nothing. Sacrifice is so essential to your thought system that salvation apart from sacrifice means nothing to you. Your confusion of sacrifice and love is so profound that you cannot conceive of love without sacrifice. And it is this that you must look upon; sacrifice is attack, not love. If you would accept but this one idea, your fear of love would vanish. Guilt cannot last when the idea of sacrifice has been removed. For if there is sacrifice, someone must pay, and someone must get. And the only question that remains is how much is the price, and for getting what.
6. As host to the ego, you believe that you can give all your guilt away whenever you want, and thereby purchase peace. And the payment does not seem to be yours. While it is obvious that the ego does demand payment it never seems to be demanding it of you. You are unwilling to recognize that the ego, which you invited, is treacherous only to those who think they are its host. The ego will never let you perceive this, since this recognition would make it homeless. For when their recognition dawns clearly, you will not be deceived by any form the ego takes to protect itself from your sight. Each form will be recognized as but a cover for the one idea that hides behind them all; that love demands sacrifice and is therefore inseparable from attack and fear. And that guilt is the price of love, which must be paid by fear.
7. How fearful, then, has God become to you, and how great a sacrifice do you believe His love demands! For total love would demand total sacrifice, and so the ego seems to demand less of you than God, and of the two is judged as the lesser of two evils, one to be feared a little, perhaps, but the other to be destroyed. For you see love as destructive, and your only question is who is to be destroyed, you or another? You seek to answer this question in your special relationships, in which you seem to be both destroyer and destroyed in part, but able to be neither completely. And this you think saves you from God, whose total love would completely destroy you.
8. You think that everyone outside yourself demands your sacrifice, but you do not see that only you demand sacrifice, and only of yourself. Yet the demand of sacrifice is so savage and so fearful that you cannot accept it where it is. The real price of not accepting this has been so great that you have given God away rather than look at it. For if God would demand total sacrifice of you, it seems safer to project Him outward and away from you. And not be host to Him. To Him you ascribed the ego’s treachery, inviting it to take His place to protect you from Him. And you do not recognize that it is what you invited in that would destroy you and does demand total sacrifice of you. No partial sacrifice will appease this savage guest, for it is an invader who but seems to offer kindness, but always to make the sacrifice complete.
9. You will not succeed in being partial hostage to the ego, for it keeps no bargains and would leave you nothing. Nor can you be partial host to it. You must choose between total freedom and total bondage, for there are no alternatives but these. You have tried many compromises in the attempt to avoid recognizing the one decision you must make. And yet it is the recognition of the decision, just as it is, that makes the decision so easy. Salvation is simple, being of God, and therefore very easy to understand. Do not try to project it from you and see it outside yourself. In you are both the question and the answer; the demand for sacrifice and the peace of God.
As we come to our devotional text today, Jesus reminds us that Christmas as well as any other season in time means nothing in eternity. But Holy Spirit uses all things in time to teach us of eternity. While we have no idea how to celebrate Christmas, Holy Spirit teaches us to celebrate the birth of Christ with Christ by accepting the Sonship in which He offers. We release Sonship with Christ and with our brothers – this is the true Christmas spirit in which we celebrate our unity, our oneness, our Sonship in Christ. Any other way we choose to celebrate His birth has no meaning and can therefore bring no true joy, happiness, or rebirth.
Not limited to one season or specific holiday, the holy instant liberates us from the sense of despair and guilt that binds us to our flesh and keeps us from the unlimited power of holiness that Sonship restores. Jesus tells us that to see Christ we must decide to see Him in everyone, withholding Sonship from nobody.
There are no sacrifices in rebirth, there are no demands from the flesh which could never bring anything meaningful to Spirit. Christ, as God’s Son is endowed with Everything – there is nothing at all that He would demand from us. When we put our faith in a God that demands sacrifice, that imposes limitations upon us, that relates to us as flesh rather than spirit, our faith is not in God but in an ego construct. We impose a conception of God and Christ which confines them to the egoism of flesh – a deity that plays with people in human dramas that denote anguish and sorrow, scarcity and going without in place of the abundance and everlastingness of Spirit. Instead of becoming One with God through Sonship, we worship, flatter, and go without our little pleasures in order to please this false concept of God we have made to take His place. We cater to the demands of others thinking that we are pleasing God when the sacrifices we make to others, the times we spend doing favors, giving free rides, and letting other people take advantage of our time, money, and efforts in order to save their own is actually a substitute for the giving of the Spirit. Wearing ourselves out for others, we wonder why we are weary, resentful, and bitter – where is God’s blessing in all this, we will ask. I did this all for God, to be a good Christian, to give beyond what people ask of me. I feel empty, tattered, and used. I did all that and they only want more!
When we really accept Christ, guilt will hold absolutely no attraction for us. In Sonship, we accept all our brothers as wholly mature, responsible, and worthy Sons of God. This is the only gift that Jesus gives us and that we extend to others. We are under no obligation to let anybody manipulate us out of our time, money, or effort. We cannot blame our brothers for our decision to do so! When we step into Sonship, we step into freedom. When we step into freedom, we offer freedom to everyone. We no longer bind people to us out of a sense of obligation or guilt nor do we accept bonds of obligation or guilt. We no longer limit communication and make it meaningless by only telling half-truths in order to hide our true feelings, our true dreams and desires. When I accept you as my true equal in Christ, I can trust you to take what I have to say to you like a big boy! You will not get your feelings hurt, you will not go into defense, you will say, Oh! Thank you so much for your honesty, thank you for telling me how you really feel, thank you for not pretending that it was okay for me to assume your time, your efforts, your money was of less importance to you than my own is to me.
This is our way to holiness; this is the reason for the season of Christmas. Christ came to deliver us from separateness, from keeping secrets inside of our disjoined bodies, from loving darkness just as much if not more than we love light. This amounts to only a shift in perception, it means that we take the fear out of our perfect love. We stop being afraid – afraid of being honest, afraid of our love for God and for each other, afraid of being our true and holy Selves. For there is no fear in love, there is no fear in God, and where there is not love there is only fear.
Jesus tells us to examine each one of our fears as one because no matter how fear manifests itself, through anxiety, through guilt, through sacrifice, through shame or pain or worry and stress, it all comes back to the original thought of thinking we can host the ego or be hostage to God. This is the decision we all think we have and that we must make. We think we must sacrifice something in order to please God, we think it is a sacrifice of something precious and which has value to lay down our egos, to step out of the flesh, and accept our Sonship. We are very confused about what has worth and what has no value at all. We think that God calls forth our death, our suffering, our little pennies and pleasures to earn His love when it is our death, our suffering, our little pennies and pleasures we sacrifice that attack the Love that God has for us, His Son. When we can step out of the perception of sacrifice as a means to God, our fear of God dissipates. There can be no guilt, no shame, no sorrow where there is no fear.
If we think that by giving up candy for Lent pleases God and shows Him how much we appreciate the sacrifice of His Son for us – we think we are somehow paying God for the sacrifice of His Son. And what do we get in return for this kind of thinking? We get a God Who is small-minded, mean-spirited, and loves to take pleasures away from His Creation. Apply this concept to all the “sacrifices” you supposedly give to God and acknowledge each one as insane.
When we host the ego, we believe we can buy our peace, by going to church, reading our bible, passing out tracts, telling other people about Jesus. We think we get into God’s good graces by our good works, by practicing healthy habits, by following the rules, by being good citizens. We think that by sacrificing His Son on the cross, God expects us to sacrifice our own selves in return. If we do not practice Christianity, we hold other sacrificial belief systems that are just as fleshy, trite, and insane.
Love does not demand sacrifice of any kind. Love does not attack, and Love holds no fear. There is no guilt induced in Love, by Love, or for Love. When we come to accept this, to know this, to practice this, and offer this to everyone – we no longer host the ego, we are only host to God.
When we believe that God’s love demands sacrifice, we always go with the ego for this is the ego’s lie and one in which keeps us bound in time. Read over paragraph seven and ask Holy Spirit to illuminate this concept to you. When we see love as the mad dog from hell – our only question will be who will be devoured – will it be me or will it be you? We will bring this concept of love as dangerous and bearing ill will into all of our special relationships, playing the part of the hellish dog some of the time and other times playing the part of the helpless prey – but neither of these parts will save us – we think consciously or otherwise – that retaining our right to flop back and forth between victimizer and victim saves us from God – from Love – from Sonship because we think Sonship would destroy us, would eat us alive, would make of us the sacrificial lamb used up by all of those around us.
Jesus tells us that all this sacrifice we think God demands from us, all these sacrifices we bring to Love are all sacrifices we put upon ourselves. Nobody actually demands anything from us. We load ourselves up with all the expectations that specialness demands of us, we makes monsters of neediness and believe it is our responsibility to sacrifice ourselves to God, to our country, to our families and friends and communities. We chain ourselves to a savage way of relating and call it existence. We refuse to look at it square on. We keep calling it God, we keep calling it love, we keep putting pretty bows and ribbons around it and calling it our duty, our obligations, our sacrifice. In other words we call that which could never be God, God; could never be love, Love, could never bring us peace and joy, peace and joy.
This is what resides in us; this is what we host within us. This is the idea that we hold toward ourselves and others and God. And these ideas can never be appeased – they demand and keep demanding. These egotistical ideas have savagery at its core – and no little sacrifices will ever appease it. No matter how kind it seems, no matter how gaily and prettily it is wrapped up – the savagery is always there with its big hungry mouth wanting more.
You can bargain with it, you can say things like, well, if I am faithful and work hard and deny myself life’s pleasures, then I will get love, I will get a big house, I will get appreciation, I will finally have what is my due – but ego never keeps its bargains, what we sacrifice today will mean nothing to it tomorrow. Our egos cannot be trusted, our flesh and all the desires it has will always leave us with nothing. No matter how small a place we keep for ego in our lives, we deny ourselves rebirth, we deny ourselves Sonship, we deny ourselves God.
There is only one decision – total freedom or total bondage. No matter how many compromises we make in this regard, it all boils down to do we choose God or do we linger on in the ego, living for the flesh, contenting ourselves in the go-nowhere realm of despair, death, and destruction.
Salvation is a matter of decision; it is very uncomplicated and easy to understand. It is not a matter of cleaning our outwards selves up, hanging out with the right crowd, going to church, or spreading the gospel. Nothing on the outside of us has anything at all to do with this decision. We are not defined by our humanity; we are defined by our Sonship in Christ. This is a very simple matter of realizing that without Him we are nothing. Nothing here matters except the meaning our egos will give it in an effort to make it something by bringing others into it and projecting our needs onto them. This is where all sense of sacrifice comes in and is played out upon the displays of our world, in the pages of our literature, our myths, our personal and collective stories, our silver screens.
As long as we see this as outside of ourselves, we will continue to deny our rebirth into Sonship. We will make needless sacrifices in the name of love; we will be very disappointed and blame God, be fearful of love, and deny the peace of God. Today in your devotional practice, accept Holy Spirit’s courage to look at things squarely, to communicate honestly in all your relationships, to give up all forms of sacrifice, and be reborn in Christ.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 15 The holy instant. X the time of rebirth. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.
Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com