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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 15 The Holy Instant

XI. Christmas as the End of Sacrifice

1. Fear not to recognize the whole idea of sacrifice as solely of your making.  And seek not safety by attempting to protect yourself from where it is not. Your brothers and your Father have become very fearful to you. And you would bargain with them for a few special relationships, in which you think you see some scraps of safety. Do not try longer to keep apart your thoughts and the Thought that has been given you. When they are brought together and perceived where they are, the choice between them is nothing more than a gentle awakening, and as simple as opening your eyes to daylight when you have no more need of sleep.

2. 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. He comes demanding nothing. No sacrifices of any kind, of anyone, is asked by Him. In His presence the whole idea of sacrifice loses all meaning. For He is Host to God. And you need but invite Him in who is there already, by recognizing that His Host is one, and no thought alien to His oneness can abide with Him there. Love must be total to give Him welcome, for the presence of holiness creates the holiness that surrounds it. No fear can touch the Host who cradles God in the time of Christ, for the Host is as holy as the Perfect Innocence which He protects, and whose power protects him.

3. This Christmas give the Holy Spirit everything that would hurt you. Let yourself be healed completely that you may join with Him in healing and let us celebrate our release together by releasing everyone with us. Leave nothing behind, for release is total, and when you have accepted it with me you will give it with me. All pain and sacrifice and littleness will disappear in our relationship, which is as innocent as our relationship with our Father, and as powerful. Pain will be brought to us and disappear in our presence, and without pain there can be no sacrifice. And without sacrifice there love must be.

4. You who believe that sacrifice is love must learn that sacrifice is separation from love. For sacrifice brings guilt as surely as love brings peace. Guilt is the condition of sacrifice, as peace is the condition for the awareness of your relationship with God. Through guilt you exclude your Father and your brothers from yourself. Through peace you invite them back, realizing that they are where your invitation bids them be. What you exclude from yourself seems fearful, for you endow it with fear and try to cast it out, though it is part of you. Who can perceive part of himself as loathsome and live within himself in peace?  And who can try to resolve the “conflict” of Heaven and hell in him by casting heaven out and giving it the attributes of hell, without experiencing himself as incomplete and lonely?

5. As long as you perceive the body as your reality, so long will you perceive yourself as lonely and deprived. And so long will you also perceive yourself as a victim of sacrifice, justified in sacrificing others. For who could thrust Heaven and its Creator aside without a sense of sacrifice and loss? And who could suffer sacrifice and loss without attempting to restore himself? Yet how could you accomplish this yourself, when the basis of your attempts is the belief in the reality of the deprivation? Deprivation breeds attack, being the belief that attack is justified. And as long as you would retain the deprivation, attack becomes salvation and sacrifice becomes love.

6. So is it that, in all your seeking for love, you seek for sacrifice and find it.  Yet you find not love.  It is impossible to deny what love is and still recognize it.  The meaning of love lies in what you have cast outside yourself, and it has no meaning apart from you.  It is what you prefer to keep that has no meaning, while all that you would keep away holds all the meaning of the universe and holds the universe together in its meaning.  Unless the universe were joined in you it would be apart from God, and to be without Him is to be without meaning. 

7. In the holy instant the condition of love is met, for minds are joined without the body’s interference, and where there is communication there is peace.  The Prince of Peace was born to reestablish the condition of love by teaching that communication remains unbroken even if the body is destroyed, provided that you see not the body as the necessary means of communication.  And if you understand this lesson, you will realize that to sacrifice the body is to sacrifice nothing, and communication, which must be of the mind, cannot be sacrificed.  Where, then, is sacrifice?  The lesson I was born to teach, and still would teach to all my brothers, is that sacrifice is nowhere, and love is everywhere.  For communication embraces everything, and in the peace it re-establishes, love comes of itself.

8. Let no despair darken the joy of Christmas, for the time of Christ is meaningless apart from joy.  Let us join in celebrating peace by demanding no sacrifice of anyone, for so you offer me the love I offer you.  What can be more joyous than to perceive we are deprived of nothing?  Such is the message of the time of Christ, which I give you that you may give it and return it to the Father, Who gave it to me.  For in the time of Christ communication is restored, and He joins us in the celebration of His Son’s creation.

9. God offers thanks to the holy host who would receive Him and let Him enter and abide where He would be.  And by your welcome does He welcome you into Himself, for what is contained in you who welcome Him is returned to Him.  And we but celebrate His Wholeness as we welcome Him into ourselves.  Those who receive the Father are one with Him, being host to Him Who created them.  And by allowing Him to enter, the remembrance of the Father enters in with Him, and with Him they remember the only relationship they ever had, and ever want to have.

10. This is the time in which a new year will soon be born from the time of Christ.  I have perfect faith in you to do all that you would accomplish.  Nothing will be lacking, and you will make complete and not destroy.  Say, then, to your brother:

I give you to the Holy Spirit as part of myself.

I know that you will be released, unless I want to use you to imprison myself.

In the name of my freedom I choose your release because I recognize that we will be released together.

So will the year begin in joy and freedom.  There is much to do, and we have been long delayed.  Accept the holy instant as this year is born, and take your place, so long left unfulfilled, in the Great Awakening.  Make this year different by making it all the same.  And let all your relationships be holy for you.  This is our will.  Amen.[1]

When Christmas comes to my heart, I am no longer afraid of loving you, of trusting in you, of believing the very best of you even as I believe the best in me.  Christ has come, we recognize our Sonship, we put away our fear of each other and go with God, for we go with Love.  We step out of fear for fear is what fuels the world of flesh, it is what keeps us guilty and binds us to thoughts of sacrifice instead of love.  What we do for others stops making of us sad-sack, grudging, worn-down martyrs and instead makes of us joyful and blessed healers who bring peace, comfort, and bliss. 

The star of Christmas is not out in the atmosphere, it is the Kingdom inside of you and inside of me.  This is the second coming of Christ, the end of sacrifice.  What I do for you no longer comes with strings attached!  I do everything I do for you from love.  Not in the fleshy kind of love where I scratch your back and you scratch mine and we built a special relationship of reciprocation and careful accounting of who gave what and how much and how much is owed in return.  When we host God, we host Love and in love we have abundance of Being. For love is total.  It cannot be experienced by flesh and blood.  The ego has no real substitute for it – kissing and having sex and holding our babies near to us, watching out for our loved ones, saying special prayers and incantations for those we hold dear – are weak substitutes for the wholeness and oneness of Love which encompasses all in a power that cannot be contained or maintained in our flesh-based relationships. 

The Christmas time of the mind comes from outside the boundaries of time.  In the coming of Christ, we give holiness to all that would hurt us.  We give up all affection and attraction we have to sacrifice, to guilt, to holding each other accountable.  Sonship is our healing and because we are healed, we heal others.  We release others from what we held against them.  We stop believing that our happiness depends upon them sacrificing themselves to us as we sacrificed ourselves to them. 

The small-mindedness that characterizes our human relationships disappears when our relationships become holy, powerful, and godly.  Pain will disappear in our presence. 

As long as we continue with our sense of sacrifice and call it love, we will bring guilt into our communion.  And with guilt, there is no real communion, there is no communication, there is no love.  As long as I want to make you guilty, I cannot love you, I cannot see God or the Sonship in you.  It is only when I look at you with the eyes of peace, when I see you as owing me nothing, as being equal with me in all things – neither better or worse, richer or poorer, sicker or healthier that I can love you.  For when I exclude you from me, I am afraid of you because I am afraid of myself. 

This was a very hard concept for me to understand and I usually cannot understand it except in retrospect.  But each time I examine my interactions with others, I realize that what I find loathsome about you, I find loathsome about myself.  I want to blame you for being hateful, grouchy, unmannerly, and draining to cover up my own sense of hatefulness, testiness, ungraciousness, and neediness.  As long as I see you as being the hellish part of me, I will not experience heaven.  I will remain trapped in the flesh, striving to make you guilty for not being God, for not making me happy, for failing me.  I will have a sense that you owe me something; that it is your privilege to have me in your life, and I will lose all the ways in which you bless me and teach me.         

In paragraph six, Jesus tells us that as bodies we seek for love and find sacrifice.  And love can never be found in neediness, in deprivation, in looking for it on the outside of us.  Unless I see you as one with me, I will never love you and you will never love me.  I may be crazy about your body, and you may be crazy about mine.  We can spend a lot of our time fawning over one another, petting one another, seeking from each other what can only be found in God, but in relating to one another through our bodies and not through our holiness, we are keeping our relationship away from all that holds meaning.  

The universe is joined in us. It is critical that we accept this and practice this concept.  For it frees our minds from the perception of flesh, giving our lives meaning and purpose that saves us from the despair of nothingness.  When we practice bringing others into us, into our holiness, even for an instant of recognition – we are giving up the idea of sacrifice, guilt, judging, condemnation.  We are practicing the forgiveness that teaches there is no need for forgiveness for what happens in nothingness has no meaning. 

I take this to mean that I can enslave myself to you for my whole life through.  I can listen to you blather endlessly about things that have no meaning to me, I can answer your every call, I can come to you in your time of need and supply you with all the things that you demand from me, I can put up with your silent treatment, the way you steal all my stories and make them your own, the way you talk about me to avoid telling the truth about yourself.  I can do this from the time we meet until the day one of us dies.  I can call this love.  I can call this friendship.  I can call this sisterhood.  I can call it by any righteous name I want to call it, but it will be nothing.  Nothing that happens between us as bodies will mean a thing.  It will not matter that you drove a thousand miles to rescue me from a bad relationship; it will not matter that you cooked a big feast and I cooked one in return.  It will not matter that I babysat for your kids for free while you got on your feet or that you took me to church or gave me a bed when I was homeless.  It was all sacrifice, it was all guilt-inducing, it was all outside of the realm of love for it was based upon bodies, deprivation, and sacrifice.  One hundred years from now it will be as nothing ever happened.  We thought we were godly; we thought there was love in all that, but it was all flesh and flesh is wearied in well doing, flesh demands recompense, flesh demands sacrifice by its very nature.  All that is of flesh withers and fades away into nothingness. 

It is only in holiness that the condition of love can be met for the body interferes with the joining of minds.  Bodies are limited to language, to gestures, to emotions.  Bodies are not built for the higher mind but for the lower mind.  When we come to a full understanding of this we can no longer see the death of a body as a sacrifice of any kind for the body, made by ego, for ego and with ego, is not of God.  It is not eternal.  It is not fit for anything outside of time.  The body can only hinder the love we have for one another in God. 

Our bodies cause us to despise one another.  In the body there is no equality.  There is someone that always have more than we do or less.  There is a sense of obligation, guilt, and sacrifice that we demand from all our relationships.  We are always comparing ourselves up against others.  Nobody is better than anybody else in this regard.  You can say I am not like that, Eckie.  But the mere fact that you have a body means that you are – we all struggle with the same issues – and the more you deny this the more you are hiding what needs to be addressed.  This is a vain attempt to make your body mean something, to make of your flesh life something that matters, that stands out from others. 

Giving up the need for guilt and sacrifice means that we demand nothing from others or ourselves.  We put down our expectations.  We step out of the bounds of time for the present moment and offer the love which God has given us.  In that moment we are deprived of nothing.  We recognize our Being, our Sonship, and we recognize others as Sons.  And this is what we give to others; this is what we give to God.  We are no longer yammering to God, tattling on each other, complaining and calling forth hell.  We offer escape from the flesh and into Spirit – inclusive and expanding forever.  We go beyond language and words for true communication is restored in the holy instant.  This is Christmas for Christ has come, joining us in celebrating Creation – restored to the Kingdom, united with God and with one another. 

God dwells only in Spirit and when we welcome Spirit we welcome God.  We find our wholeness in love as we welcome God into our Being.  By hosting God, we can never be lonely again, and never being lonely again, we can never demand a sacrifice from someone nor be forced to sacrifice to another. 

He is not just speaking to the scribe, Dr. Schucman, in paragraph ten – Jesus is speaking to each one of us.  He tells us that we will complete the Vision of Christ.  By giving holiness to our brothers, no matter what we personally feel toward them in the flesh, we free ourselves.   

The world is full of fear and makes fearful beasts of us to one another.  I am afraid of your riches; you are afraid of my poverty.  I am afraid of your beauty; you are afraid of my ugliness.  I am afraid of your privilege; you are afraid of my lack – it is not real – our perceptions are twisted and perverted against each other.  When I set you free from my perceptions of you; I am set free of all false perceptions of myself.  I come to know you and myself as Christ for Sonship has been awakened in my mind and heart.  When I am released from the savage chains of flesh and into the freedom and liberty of Spirit, I am no longer the least bit inclined to hold you captive. 

In your personal devotions strive only for God – get past the interference, the resistance, the building of grudges and the demands for sacrifice.  This is the practice of the holy instant.  Whether we understand it or not, it is both a personal call and a universal one.  We are only fit for the Kingdom when we learn how to abide in the unity established in holiness.  This is the holiness of Sonship for it completes us and makes us of one mind.  Nobody is left behind for there is no heaven in a universe that is a host to hell.  And so we will have no hell as we awaken and let all relationships be whole and holy.  This is our will for it is the Will of God.  And God’s Will is done. 


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 15 The holy instant. XI Christmas as the end of sacrifice. 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

Filed under: ACIM, Teaching and Learning

About the Author

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Coming up on sixty, my love for God, home and hearth, my husband and family fueled my decision to devote the rest of my life only to pursuits which brought love, joy, peace, and purpose. I am a writer, seeker, student, and teacher with experience professional and otherwise from waitressing to teaching the English language in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. I hold a BA in Psychology from Bloomsburg University, which took nearly 30 years to attain while I squeezed courses in between raising my children, journaling, relationships, work, and an assortment of escapades, some of which I would rather forget! An ongoing passion for reading, writing, adventure, food, and fun, eventually led me to the love of my life, James, whom I met in 1996 and married in 1997. Our life together has been an exciting journey of work and travel, spiritual awakening, and domestic bliss ever since. Although we have experienced the tragic loss of family members and friends through death and estrangement, we have managed to turn our special relationship into a holy one by the grace of God and an acute and growing awareness of “there must be a better way!” In 2006, I published my first novel, Luella’s Calling, and am currently working on my second, Grover Good and the Stone Chateau. From 2013 through 2018, I worked as a Prevention Education Specialist for Transitions, a local domestic violence sexual abuse victim’s service agency. My work there, fueled by a lifelong enthusiasm for teaching, led me to obtain an MS in Education from Scranton University. In 2018, I resigned to accompany James on his work travels while focusing on my calling to study and teach A Course in Miracles. To that end, I dedicate the rest of my days to writing, sharing, and teaching the message of salvation found within the Course pages. Thank you for your interest in this blog. As I do not respond to comments on the posts, if you care to contact me, please email me at eckief@yahoo.com.

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