At this time of year, many people celebrate Christmas and the birth of the child of God, Jesus. As with any child that appears in dreams or myths, it usually signals the emergence of previously unknown psychic material into consciousness. What is the Christ child trying to bring into our consciousness?
Archetypically, the child appears in many forms such as the Orphan, the Innocent, and the Magical Child. The Christ Child celebrated at Christmas, as with Buddha, Krishna, and Mohammed, is the Divine Child in that it possesses a special gift, born with great destiny. He is the hero, the true Self, ready to be fully realized. He is a symbol of future hopes, potentiality, newness and even redemption.
Psychologically, the Christmas Nativity scene represents the possibility of human wholeness. Christmas occurs during the winter solstice, the darkest and coldest point of winter. Symbolically, what is needed when we are in our darkest and most unconscious times is the Divine Child; one whom brings light in the form of increased consciousness, new feelings and ideas.
Christmas offers annual hope of the emergence of new developments in the human psyche.
However, in all great myths, the birth of the hero or Divine Child is always threatened by negative reactions from the status quo. In this case, King Herod, the ruling authority, is fearful of being superseded by the new authority, represented by the Christ Child.
Symbolically, King Herod represents our egos and the collective forces that threaten, as they did Jesus, our true complete selves, our own inner Divine Child. Like the Christ Child, we are inevitably bullied, coerced and wounded. The result is a lack of wholeness.
The task is to reclaim our wounded parts that have been exiled into the darkness, into the unconscious. These parts wait for the reintegration into the light, into our consciousness. Jung called this task individuation.
The Christmas story proposes the right to be our true selves, to live to our full potentials without pressure from the collective, and to be no other than whom we are destined to be. We are the Christ Child. The Divine Child is within each of us.
Jung explained “the remarkable story of a divine child” as the “function” of our true selves. He stated, “Despite the harsh and unwelcoming environment, the hostility of the powers that be, and all the forces arrayed against him, the child survives, and even flourishes.” There is hope.
Take time over the holidays to recreate a ‘Silent Night’ – a time of soulful calmness, silence and darkness. Envision yourself at the manger, looking at the Divine Child, at you. Contemplate on the qualities of yourself that need to be brought back into consciousness. Light a candle to honour these traits, as they are the light required for your wholeness.
Whether the trait deals with being more generous or accepting a prejudice, the integration will bring you closer to wholeness, to the light that the Divine Child offers. As Jung suggested, to “confront a person with their shadow is to show them their own light.”
What light will the Christ Child represent for you this year?