The Bliss Blog

Christmas Eve morning found me at Circle of Miracles which is an interfaith community that has been a spiritual home for me since I walked through the door of Hannelore and Bob Goodwin’s home in Wycombe, PA in 2001. Many changes have occurred in the past 16 years; among them, moving the location and the poignant passing of the loving couple who created this welcoming place for people of all traditions and beliefs. I miss them dearly and feel their presence from time to time; these two who felt like parents to me.

Among my family of choice, I experienced a sense of healing as Sharon Cristofalo went from person to person, bestowing us with hands-on blessings. The amps on this energy were raised by the sonic sweetness offered by Sharon Kachel as she played Tibetan bowls and chimes. Deep peace permeated the space.

One aspect of our service is a presentation by a ‘speaker/spark’ and today that was Sharon Cristofalo. Her topic was Mary, Did You Know?  It was based on the lyrics of this perennial Christmas song.

Mary, did you know that your baby boy will someday walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God
Oh, Mary did you know
The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb
Mary, did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am
Songwriters: Buddy Greene / Mark Lowry
Mary Did You Know lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Capitol Christian Music Group
Each time I have heard the song, it has come wrapped up in goosebumps since it is the story of the One who is celebrated on December 24th; even though it is not likely He was born on that date, as indicated by the alignment of the stars and season when events were said to have occurred and more likely that it was a counter response to the Pagan celebration of Solstice on December 21st.
Sharon shared her perspective that these questions call us to examine our own trajectory and legacy. At our birth, did we have a clue how our lives would unfold?  Perhaps on a spiritual level, we signed up for certain experiences. Not always conscious of the path my life has taken. It is far easier to gaze back down the timeline and collect the crumbs from the Hansel and Gretel Breadcrumb Trail. What if I had known about the love and loss I would experience? Would I have made different choices?  Would I still be the me who is typing these words without having gone through those times?  Much of what shaped my values included being confronted with shadow and regret. If I had the opportunity to revisit certain pivotal moments, would I make different choices?  In some cases, I would like to think so. And then again, I wonder what the outcome would be.
She then asked, “Do we only know our legacy when our eulogy is being read?” I hope not. When I interviewed His Holiness the Dalai Lama back in 2008, he had this to say when I asked about his legacy.
“No, no, no. Many years ago, a New York Times journalist asked me that question. I told her, as a Buddhist practitioner, not allowed. If I take serious my legacy, that means self-centered. So, I answer that and then again that lady asked a second time and I answered same way and then a third time and then I lost my temper. If you ask, I may lose my temper. ( Laughter followed.) Your motivation should be sincere and your life should be of benefit to some people. That is the main thing. Don’t care after my death.”
For me, it isn’t about how I will be remembered, but rather, what example I can set now. How can I walk my talk, clean up my side of the street and leave the campground better than I found it? I also consider the example I set for my son who is now happily married to the love of his life and doing work that he enjoys. He is surrounded by many friends. There was a time when I questioned whether he would be living this life, although I did have a precognitive dream when he was a pre-teen that things would turn out wonderfully. The doubting mother can give herself at least a mild pat on the back for seeing him through.
Back to the story of Mary and Jesus….  according to a few articles I read about the song that were critical of it and claimed it was not biblically sound (who said it was supposed to be since it is a work of art?), she DID know who she was raising, since an angel told her so. What she was not aware of was that her precious son would be murdered. What if she had known?  Would she have discouraged him from teaching and preaching and keeping under her watchful eye? I also recall the conversation between Jesus and God in the Garden of Gethsemane during which Jesus said he didn’t want to die, but if God said he should, then he would. Is that an exercise of free will or a playing out of what was scripted long before his birth?

That has me questioning how much of my own life is ‘beshert’ (Hebrew for ‘meant to be’) and how much random. I have come to regard it to a blend of both. What I do know for sure is that I have the choice in any moment, to bring my A game to the table, plant seeds and see how they grow.



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