On Christmas at dawn we enter a hushed and holy time. In our imaginations we could
feel ourselves with the shepherds on the fields, watching their sheep under the starry
heavens. All the intensity of daily life, which has occupied and distracted us until now,
could be represented as a great sphere connected with a small sphere above. The
concerns of life dominate our attention, as the lower sphere, but we may also have
moments of awareness of the divine above, guiding our decisions and encounters. We
may be inspired by insights that influence the course of our life, but we can also hope
this is in relationship with the spiritual worlds. And we can hope that something of our
accomplishments or needs or prayers stream upward, so the world of the spirit can
perceive and work with what we offer. A stream of spirit-substance flows down,
encircling or supporting what is below, and then it streams back up to the realm above,
keeping the connection between heaven and earth.

A simple depiction of this complex relationship appears on the priestly vestments worn
in celebrating: on the front of the chasuble is a form that expresses this, looking like a
figure “8.” Most of the time the figure “8” could look heavily weighted below, showing our
consciousness filled with what is around us. And the upper part of the form could be
very small, as we overlook the significant influence of the spiritual world.
But on this holy day, at the breaking of the dawn, the figure “8” seems to turn upside-
down or inside-out. The heavenly hosts are so vast, proclaiming “Glory of God in the
highest, and peace on earth to all of good will!” Suddenly the realm above is mighty,
and the concerns below become small. We impress into our feeling the ancient word:
“as above, so below.”

But the figure inscribed on the chasuble does not depict two interwoven spheres, there
is a dynamic crossing point in the streaming down and streaming up. This crossing-
point is a threshold between the world above and the world below. And the mystery of
this threshold is revealed in the Christmas epistle with the words: “Know this: the Christ
has appeared in the realm of earth: Behold in him the bringer of the healing of earthly
Man…!” The threshold between the spiritual world and the earthly world is revealed in
“knowing this.” The Christmas message, surprisingly enough, is “to know!” At the
threshold of our knowing, we receive blessing from the newborn Logos-Word, blessing
to warm our speech-bearing blood, to strengthen our spirit-devoted willing. In this
knowing, we are in communion with Christ Jesus.