Festivals of the Seasons
6. The Spirit of Christmas
26 December 1909, Berlin
We have been endeavouring, as Christmas has drawn near, to enter into that spirit which also from the anthroposophical standpoint may be called the true spirit of Christmas. We have been seeking to realise that there is an interpretation of the Christmas Festival, which in a measure enables us to bring the spirit of Christmas to bear on everything of importance that happens to a man during the year. The celebration of the Christmas Festival, in the true anthroposophical spirit, is a matter of the utmost importance to the anthroposophist, especially at the present time. And what else could this mean, this ‘celebration of Christmas in the true anthroposophical spirit,’ but that all the year round we should set before ourselves, in fervency of soul, the endeavour to fulfil our spiritual duty towards the present stage of human evolution; and to this end we must understand the task of humanity in our time and continually enrich our souls through experiences drawn from the spiritual world. This is to be our aim, in order that we may be able, that we may have the right to belong to those whose task it is to accomplish the necessary spiritual work in the next epoch of humanity. Thus the whole year through, we seek to fill our thoughts with what Anthroposophy has to give us, to open our hearts to anthroposophical wisdom. And when the year draws to its close (and even outwardly this season has a symbolical importance, for in the outside world, owing to the limited power of the sun’s rays, an excess of darkness prevails), then, at this Festival time, let us try to understand how we may connect our Christmas Celebration with the anthroposophical year that is past. Let us be continually realising afresh that anthroposophical truth, in its entirety, must be permeated and illumined by that mighty Impulse which we call the Christ-Impulse! If we try in this way to inscribe the anthroposophical truths in our hearts and souls, as the message of Christ Himself, then we can indeed say: At Christmas-time we anthroposophists must develop the spirit of Christmas by allowing all that we have learned during the whole year to be lighted up in our souls by means of deeper feelings, so that new force may be generated in us. We must be able to feel that we not only know something of anthroposophical wisdom, but that it penetrates our soul, our heart, becomes in us an illuminating, glowing force, which enables us during the coming year to fulfil our duty and to carry on our work in any sphere of life in which we may be placed. If we thus seek to transmute the holy truths of the Spirit into holy feelings, into holy force in our souls, then will be born in us, on a higher plane, that which we learn at first by means of the forces of this earthly world. For this reason we ought, ever more and more, to call to mind those occasions upon which one or another of the human family strove to rise to those spiritual realms where the Christ Himself is to be found. The truly Christian poet, Novalis, has already guided us, during this Christmas-time, into these realms of spirit. And again to-day a little of that anthroposophical Christmas spirit just described—the kindling of feeling by means of those rays of warmth—may well be sought in the writings of a truly anthroposophical poet, such as Novalis was. Let us turn to Novalis.
We may perhaps most effectually realise, in the various forms in which Novalis gives us his rarest wisdom, how we may be enabled, through Anthroposophy, to fill life with a new glory. All around us life is rushing by, and our own work forms part of this modern whirl of life. When, through Anthroposophy, we gain the power of bringing wisdom down from the spiritual world, we shall gild the whole of life with the gold of anthroposophical wisdom, however prosaic circumstances may appear. This we must learn. We shall see that life becomes filled with a new glory, if each year we allow the anthroposophical Christmas-spirit to enter into our souls; if we, so to speak, allow Anthroposophy to be re-born within us at Christmas-time, as feeling and perception. We shall then feel how impossible it is, if we want to live here in the ordinary world, to attain, even in small degree, to spiritual perception. There is much to-day which hinders a man from unfolding his wings in order to rise to the spiritual world! Let me tell you briefly something which we may regard to a certain extent as symbolical.
Many of us, who come to Anthroposophy, may say: Ah! everything which it offers to me would be beautiful, would be glorious; it warms my heart and fills my soul with love, but I cannot believe it! I am bound by what I have learned in the outer world, by the prejudices which I have acquired. ‘That is mere idle fancy,’ say these prejudices: ‘These things do not rest on any sure foundation!’ Many a man is thus thrown into bitter doubt. If he could only rise above the prejudices of the outer world, by which he is so beset at the present time, if he could only feel himself free in the pure ether of the spirit, he would know himself to be in touch with spiritual forces, and he would be able to make use of these forces in his daily work. The following little event may serve as an illustration of that attitude of mind, which prevents the ordinary man of the present day from perceiving, without prejudice or hindrance, all that Anthroposophy is able to provide for heart and soul.
There lived a man in the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century, the German Count Hardenberg. He had a son, whom we know as Novalis, and we have been able to admit in intimate anthroposophical circles, that the poems and deep wisdom given to the world by this son sprang from a soul which was the reincarnation of significant and powerful personalities, who had accomplished momentous things for the earth. But how was the father, surrounded as he was by the influences of the outer world, to recognise this soul in his son? How could he have even a suspicion of the spirit, which was able to express itself in the soul of this son? He was as unable to free himself from the prejudices of the material world and his connection with the actualities of life around him, as many to-day, who are influenced by the prejudices of our time, are unable to perceive the impelling force of the spiritual wisdom of Anthroposophy. The old Hardenberg would have had to free himself, as it were, from harshness in his misunderstanding of his son; he would have had to rise above a completely material life, before he could feel, within his Moravian Community, anything of a deeply religious spirit—or, as one might perhaps say, ‘A knowledge of the universal spirit as it was understood in the olden days.’ Those traditional, authoritative influences which are operative within such a community were necessary in order that his inmost soul might be affected by that true Christian spirit, which can only be understood when it has received anthroposophical inspiration.
Old Hardenberg had once a remarkable experience of the breath of that Christian spirit, when he and others were assembled in the Moravian Church, and they began to sing one of their hymns. By means of this hymn, the origin of which he did not know, there came to him a breath from the eternal world. He was deeply moved by the hymn beginning:
Without Thee, where should I have ended,
Without Thee, what should I have done?
He perceived something which hitherto he had been unable to perceive! The service came to an end. Old Hardenberg went out and asked some of his fellow-worshippers: ‘Who then is the writer of this glorious poem?’ ‘It was written by your son,’ was the reply. Old Hardenberg, freed from all the associations of the ordinary world, undisturbed by the prejudices of the physical plane, had felt the compelling power of the spiritual life. But his son, as far as his physical body was concerned, had already been in his grave for some months. For this experience only came to old Hardenberg some months after the death of Novalis. Only when his surroundings were such as enabled him for a short time to escape from all his preconceived physical-plane ideas, was he borne upwards into the spiritual heights, and realised their constraining force—that constraining force which we ought to feel, untroubled by all the prejudices of the material world. Let us rise above the materialistic prejudices of the present day! Let us feel the constraining force of the spiritual life, and let power and warmth flow from it into our hearts! If we do this, we shall then fulfil our duty towards the humanity of the present day. Through this illustration, taken from a real experience of Novalis’ father, I wished to lead you into that spirit to which we now want to attain, by means of the strong, anthroposophical forces which lie in the songs of Novalis. (Here follow readings from Novalis’ ‘Spiritual Songs.’)
This time of Festival perhaps makes it easier not only to understand and to know, but to feel and to realise, all that we have been considering, through so many anthroposophical hours, in connection with our Gospels. And we know that a large part of the time which we had at our disposal during this past year, was devoted to this Gospel study. There are still further important deductions to be drawn from our study of the Gospels, and now, in the short lecture to-day, in which we must still think of our Christmas Festival, let us realise what is associated with that Event—the Christ-Event—which should be so vividly before us at Christmas-time.
Consideration of the Christ-Event enables us to estimate very fully the significance and force of the anthroposophical conception of the universe, as it affects the present time, and also the future of humanity. If we allow ourselves to be influenced by the same deep feeling for the Christ-Event, which filled the soul of Novalis, we shall continually be constrained to ask ourselves afresh: ‘How can that mighty impulse, which entered into mankind when Christ was born in Palestine, become more and more a reality to us?’ At the present time we are right in associating Anthroposophy with the Christ-Event. Could we but show how the different streams of human spiritual life, which existed before the time of Christ, were united in the Event of Palestine, we could also show how great a number of people have, at the best, but a dim idea of the Event of Palestine, and how it will only gradually be possible to understand it, in its full power and significance, in the far future, when men come to seek a more spiritual view of life. For however great may be the wisdom gained in the course of the evolution of the earth, this wisdom will only find its deepest fulfilment as it makes itself into an instrument for the understanding of what the Christ-Impulse really is. We are thus faced with the immediate necessity of bringing direct spiritual experience to bear upon the Christ-Event. At the time in which Christ walked on earth in bodily form, humanity received the great and powerful impulse to rise again into the spiritual world, but even now this impulse is only apprehended, in its true form, by those souls who are fitted to receive it. On the other hand, as though to complete the measure of that which must be overcome, humanity has continued to descend more and more deeply into materialism. Man’s whole existence is, in fact, a descent into matter. During the post-Atlantean time also, man has become ever more and more immersed in matter. The Christ-Event signified the impulse which enables men once more to ascend, but this empowering impulse has as yet been but little realised. On the other hand, the descent into matter, even during the time since Christ, has manifested itself ever more and more forcibly, and, as the result of this descent, the whole thinking, feeling, and perception of man have been injuriously affected. To-day we are already living in an age in which materialistic investigation is brought to bear on our understanding of the Christ-Event. And since we are met for serious thought, it is fitting to refer to such a serious matter as this application of materialistic investigation even to the most spiritual event that has ever happened on the earth. We see that the materialistic theology of the present day states on the authority of so-called ‘higher criticism,’ that it is impossible to give any proof of an outward historical Christ, and there are already theologians who say: ‘Higher criticism compels us to admit, that “ historically ” it cannot be proved that, at the beginning of our era, there lived in Palestine One of whom the Gospels proclaim such mighty facts, and from whom such mighty impulses appear to have been poured into the spiritual life of humanity.’ Thus Science to-day, as a result of its methods, seems to feel called upon to do away with the historical Christ. On this account, we need to remember that Spiritual Science, in accordance with its principles, is now being called upon to prove the historical Christ Jesus. The faith of men does not depend upon the truths belonging to any particular branch of learning. Illustration after illustration could be given to prove how threadbare such learning is. But people may spend their lives without perceiving that such proofs exist. Thus also in the future (and this will be the case for a long time to come) an ever-increasing number of people will follow the line of materialistic thought and will be influenced more and more by the belief that the true historical method must needs deny the certainty of an historical Christ Jesus. Science would seem to abolish that for which we are hoping to obtain a new symbol in the light of golden wisdom. The time will surely come, in which Christ will only be known in circles such as this, where through the study of Spiritual Science light is thrown on the words: ‘I am with you al way even to the end of the world,’ and where those who are able to investigate for themselves, through spiritual vision, will know that He, from Whom the Christian impulse has gone forth, is ever to be found in the spiritual world, and that certainty with regard to the Christ-Event is to be obtained from within that spiritual world. Only in circles in which such spiritual truths are acknowledged will it be possible to reach the assurance of that for which this symbol is once more being sought. And the outer world will not accept any proof that the historical, the outer scientific method, is itself built on an uncertain foundation. Certainly those who are able to understand the nature and value of Science to-day know already how threadbare and unfounded its methods are, and therefore how little is proved when those who believe they are proceeding on strictly scientific lines come to the conclusion that history provides no proof that any of the persons, from Christ down to the Apostles, ever lived.
But it will be a long time yet before men free themselves from that belief in authority which does not appear to them to be belief in authority. The worst form of this belief exists at the present time. And men do not perceive that He Who really frees us from belief in authority, is He Who taught man to build in his inmost being on the power of his own Ego. He who has revealed to us what the Ego is capable of taking into itself can also show us how to find the source and the power of truth within our own being. With Christ within, we find truth within; with Christ within, we find the sure foundation for free and independent judgment, a foundation which is deeper than that of authority. But during this hour, when our thoughts are turned to the Christ-Event, let us give our earnest attention, in order that we may realise our calling as anthroposophists. Perhaps I should postpone for future lectures what I now propose to include here, were it not that it will be some time before we meet again. But I want to direct your attention to what the anthroposophist should recognise as one of the most significant signs of the time in which he is living, namely, the impossibility, so to speak, of the scientific methods of the present day. One cannot hope to convince those who wish to believe in the material science which in our time explains away even the historical Christ. But there must be some who, through the teaching of Anthroposophy, understand something of the way in which material science is failing in all departments and how, in the future, spiritual life alone can promote the welfare of mankind.
In current events people fail to see the most important point. A lawsuit was recently held in Vienna, in which the whole civilised world was interested. Because this lawsuit was considered of importance, the whole of Europe may be said to have assembled in order to gain information from it, but probably the most important thing which happened there passed unnoticed. And even if this most important point were put into words those, who were not anthroposophically prepared, would regard it as a mere fantasy. A certain professor of history was present, a man famous in Europe, esteemed by the rest of his profession, who had written important words in accordance with the strict methods of historical research—a ‘good dabbler in learning.’ This dabbler in learning became possessed of a series of documents, which had been handed over by one of the southern countries of Europe. These documents were to prove that there had been treachery in the south-east of Austria. Now who could be more fitted, according to present-day ideas, to put the matter to the test than a professor of history? A historian, before all others, ought to be called upon to examine the value of documents. All the beliefs of the world are founded on documents! Truth is determined by the testing of documents and the way in which they are applied and compared. The truth, even about the miracle of Christianity, can be reached in no other way! The historian and investigator into whose hands these documents fell, was also a pupil of the professor of history whom I like to call to mind when I think of my own young days. There were, at that time, two historians; the one carried on his investigations in accordance with the strictest methods of documental research, the other, his colleague, paid less heed to these strict methods and was more concerned in seeing that the candidates knew something of real historical events. Now it happened that the favourite pupil of this investigator of documents was to take his degree. He was examined first in the science of ancient documents, i.e., the science by means of which one learns to establish satisfactorily how to arrive at the truth through outward material means. For instance, he was asked in which Papal Document the dot over the i appeared for the first time. This is, of course, a very important piece of knowledge, and the candidate knew instantly that it was in the time of a certain ‘Innocent’ that the dot over the i first appeared. But the other historian, his colleague, then said: ‘May I now ask something of the candidate who knew so exactly when the dot over the i first appeared?’ ‘Can you tell me, sir, when the Pope, in whose documents the dot over the i first appeared, ascended the Papal throne?’ No, he did not know that. ‘Do you know then, perhaps, when he died?’ No, he did not know that either. ‘Now tell me something else about this Pope.’ He knew nothing! Then said the Professor, whose favourite pupil he was, ‘Really, sir, it seems as if you are very stupid to-day.’ To which the other rejoined, ‘But, my dear colleague, he is your favourite pupil! Who then has made him very stupid?’
The historian in question had not, at that time, proceeded far on the path of learning. But he became an able student of ancient documents, capable of establishing the truth with regard to times far past, by means of historical investigation. So what more suitable person could be found to discover if there were any treachery in the documents which had been handed over to him from a most important quarter? In accordance with the methods of historical research he duly examined them, and in a public article made serious accusations against a number of people. This resulted in a lawsuit, and, during this lawsuit, one of the most important documents was proved to be an altogether clumsy forgery. The whole point lay in the fact that a certain personality ought to have taken the chair at the meeting of a society in a certain town; but on making inquiry, it was ascertained that this man had been elsewhere during the time in question.
We see here the methods of historical research at work on documents dealing with events of the present day and the only result in this case was that these methods were turned to a laughing-stock. The important point to which I alluded is this: not that any man, or men, were condemned, but that the historical, scientific method was completely condemned. And this was the really significant point which a modern lawsuit brought to light. We ought therefore seriously to face the question: What is a method worth, which sets out to decide whether something took place eighteen or nineteen centuries ago, when it is not in the position to discover anything about the plainest modern affairs? Here Science itself was brought to judgment and this is a fact that should be recognised! A science, arising out of the materialistic prejudices of the present day, will always be brought to judgment, if people are so indolent that they accept authorities without knowing what they are. The present day demands that we should know what our authority is. If, with an earnest belief in a spiritual philosophy, we give ourselves to the study of what is known to-day as Science, we shall see how it vanishes, how it proves to be built on sandy foundations and falls to pieces when we really set to work upon it earnestly. But men are not willing to regard the things of the present day from the spiritual standpoint. Men are not conscientious enough (that is, those who are outside anthroposophical life) to judge for themselves as to the character of these methods, which force materialistic, authoritative opinion into the minds of men. Hence for a long time to come, except within the intimate circle of anthroposophical influence, there will be no possibility of perceiving, in its true form, that which is for the highest welfare of mankind. And as Science increasingly questions and does away with that which took place in Palestine and which we symbolically bring to life anew in our hearts every year, then the anthroposophical, spiritual world-movement will provide a place in which the power of the Event in Palestine will shine forth ever more and more clearly and from this centre there will stream forth again into the rest of humanity that life which can only proceed from this Event. What can develop in our souls through a true inner experience of the Event of Palestine?
‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’
We may look upon this as the fundamental word of Christ Jesus. That is to say, Christ Jesus lived in Palestine in bodily form at the beginning of our era. Since that time He is to be found in the spiritual world; for He has united Himself with the spiritual atmosphere of the Earth. He became ‘The Spirit of the Earth,’ If we seek Him within the spiritual atmosphere of our Earth, we find Him there. He permeates the whole life of our Earth ever more and more. But what are men to gain through the continual indwelling of the Christ- Spirit? If we want to understand clearly what men are to gain in the future through the dwelling of the Christ-Spirit in their souls, then we must continue what has been already attempted for some time in our anthroposophical movement. What we are doing in this movement has not arisen from any arbitrary spirit—not from any programme drawn up merely by this or that man. Spiritual life is traced back ultimately to those sources which we seek in the individualities whom we call the ‘Masters of Wisdom and of the Harmony of Feeling.’ Through them, if we search rightly, we shall find the impulse which will enable us to work as we ought to work, from epoch to epoch, from age to age.
A great impulse has recently come to us from the spiritual world and today, on this solemn Christmas evening, let us refer to this momentous impulse —a direction, so to speak, which has come to us during recent years from the spiritual world. It is through this impulse that our anthropsophical movement here in Central Europe has developed. We might describe this impulse in human words somewhat in the following manner:
‘Look at what is happening in the outer world: the words of the Gospels are becoming more and more misunderstood! They are being explained childishly, they are being tested by outward historical methods. The spiritual investigator must for a time disregard all merely outward history. What is necessary now is that the Gospels should again be understood quite literally, for it is through the literal understanding of them that the real depths of their Wisdom are reached.’
The spiritual world has directed us to become acquainted once more with the literal meaning of the Gospels, to understand what is contained in the actual wording of them. And all that we have attempted in our study of the Gospels of St. John, St. Luke and St. Matthew and which we hope still to attempt in our consideration of the Gospel of St. Mark, has arisen from this impulse, as it developed and took shape. We ought to try once again to understand the Gospels literally! This we are told by those who have given us this impulse from the spiritual world. Such is the ‘coming Christianity,’ the following of this impulse to understand the Gospels in their literalness. And what shall we gain through the literal understanding of the Gospels, through giving heed to the instruction of the Spiritual Powers who have spoken from the astral plane with such clearness as would scarcely be possible a second time in one century? We shall gain what is necessary if we desire to make ourselves into instruments which shall be able to guide the coming era of humanity in the right way, able to direct that which requires guidance and instruction in the world around us.
When we look back on the evolution of mankind in the remote past, we know that the human ego was not yet fully developed. As we trace back the evolution of man, we come to the Group-soul. A certain number of human beings had at that time an Ego-soul in common, just as animals still have a group-soul to-day. We find this in every race. Thus we know that humanity has developed itself from the group-soul consciousness and at the time when Christ came down to our Earth humanity had reached the point in which the old group-souls were beginning to lose their significance. The old group-souls had withdrawn. Every man was now called upon to develop his own individual soul, his true individuality. And who brought that which was to be poured into the individual soul? It was brought by the Christ-Impulse! And the more we fill ourselves with the Christ-Impulse, the richer will our individuality become, so that those truths, which we need to carry over into the future, spring up within the Ego itself. At the present time we are at an important turning-point. Many are asking to-day: What does it mean, that we, anthroposophists, speak of reincarnation, when we have no recollection of any previous life? It is true, we have as yet no such recollection. But I have already pointed out, that if we take a four-year old child and say, ‘This is a human being, but he cannot reckon! that is no proof that human beings are unable to reckon. One must wait until the child has grown old enough to learn; in ten years he will be able to reckon I In the same way the human soul will so mature, that it will be able to remember past incarnations. Whether it will remember correctly or not is another matter.
We are at an important turning-point. In the fourth post-Atlantean period, Christ descended as that Impulse whereby man is enabled to realise his individuality as a self-dependent being. We are now in the fifth Period, the last in which men are unable to recall their former incarnations. In the sixth Period, which will succeed our own, men will have the power to recall the past. Whether they remember correctly depends upon how they receive into their souls to-day the impulse thereto: whether they make themselves capable of remembering in the right way. In the future only those will remember their present existence in the right way, who have taken into themselves the Christ- Impulse, the source of true individuality. On the other hand, those who do not appropriate this source of true individuality will form new group-souls. Look at the impulse there is in men to-day towards the group-soul spirit, although there is no need for it, when they might find instead the sources of truth springing up in their own souls. It is well-known how everybody wants to do as ‘they’, the other people, do. Men do not look for what is to be found in their own souls, but they follow that which leads them into companies and groups and we see them happiest when they can have, not truths which are independent, but those which are held in common with others. Yes, and what is more, people hate individuality and they think that through this hatred of what is individual they can forge the strongest weapon against such wisdom as the anthroposophical. For anthroposophical wisdom must shine forth in the soul of each individual, it cannot be forced upon us by lever and screw, or by means of the rack. All that Anthroposophy says must come to us without the help of any external instrument. We must each one of us appropriate its teachings for himself, without being persuaded through any outward means, because it belongs to the invisible world into which each one must enter through his own power of thought. Through anthroposophical wisdom a man becomes individual. If we receive this wisdom in the true individual way—i.e., permeated by the Christ-Impulse—then there sinks into our souls that which will enable us to recall, in the sixth Period, an individuality, which each man has for himself, which belongs exclusively to himself. On the other hand, the memory of those who to-day are seeking to live in the old group-soul spirit, will be such that the group-soul consciousness will still be present. They will remember their present incarnation in the sixth Period, but they will then see clearly that they made their judgment at that time dependent on the judgment of others. And it will be a fearful chain for a man to be obliged to feel himself as part of a group-soul consciousness.
The prospect of being bound to the group-soul consciousness threatens all those who are unable to receive the Christ-Impulse in our time. When we accept the Christ-Event, that Event which is the message to us of our human individuality, there enters into our souls the possibility of attaining the goal which humanity is to reach in the sixth Period—viz., that we should not look back to a group-soul consciousness, but to an individuality, permeated by the Christ. Thus he who comprehends Christianity in the right way to-day and understands how to inspire and permeate it with the spirit of Anthroposophy, will be enabled to rise to his full height and to be an instrument for work in the sixth Period.
That then is the question: whether we resolve to look back from our reincarnations in the sixth Period, upon our present ego as a non-individual, lacking in independence, bound up in the group-soul consciousness, or whether we desire to remember an ego, which has laid hold for itself of the source of spirituality in our Earth-evolution, which has laid hold of the great Word. Before all personality existed, before there was anything belonging to humanity upon the earth and ‘before Abraham was, was the I AM.’ That which lives within us is in close union with the Father-Spirit—something is brought to life in us through the understanding of the Christ-Impulse and it is this understanding alone which unites us consciously with the source of the universe. Thus the entering of the Christ-Impulse into our souls signifies the possibility of rising again in the sixth Period as individual beings who look back upon an independent existence. If we allow the Christ, truly understood, to be born within us, we shall be able to awaken the remembrance of this Christ in the sixth post-Atlantean Period. And if in the fifth Period, we celebrate a true Christmas Festival, we shall then be able to celebrate a true Easter Festival in the sixth Period. As the beautiful Christmas hymn sings in our hearts on Christmas night: ‘Unto you is born this day a Saviour, Christ, the Lord,’ so, in looking back to the birth of the Christ in our souls, we shall hear within ourselves the announcement of this true Higher Ego. We shall look back upon this, and shall allow the memory of it to arise as an Easter Festival within ourselves; and then we shall be able to hear the grand and beautiful strains of Easter music: ‘May the Christ arise in us, enkindling and illuminating our own divine individuality.’ In this way the Festivals of Christmas and Easter are linked together in the fifth and sixth Periods of our post-Atlantean epoch—this is how we must learn to understand what we are taught in the Gospels. We have already partially learned and we shall learn still further, how the forces of Buddha, of Zoroaster and those of the old Hebrew race, flowed together in Christianity, and how, as the Gospels also show, they were united in the Person of Jesus Christ. That which has lived and moved in the world in pre-Christian times, must now live in our own individuality: it must be born again, penetrated by the Christ- Impulse. We then celebrate the anthroposophical Christmas Festival in our own souls, the birth of Christ in ourselves. And if we carry this inner knowledge of the Christ through Kamaloka and Devachan and back into a new life on earth and ever again into new earthly existences, until the sixth Period is reached, we shall then remember what we experienced in the fifth Period, and shall thus celebrate in ourselves the Christian Easter Festival.
So, through the Christmas symbol, may that five in us symbolically, which we have been learning of late from the Gospels concerning the Mystery of Christ. So may these lights, now burning before us, incite us to give ourselves up to that impulse, which comes to us from the spiritual world: i.e., to understand the Gospels literally! And we look upon these outward lights as symbols of those lights which must be kindled in our souls and which, if they are kindled through the anthroposophical knowledge of Christ, will still bum in the sixth Period of the post-Atlantean epoch.
Let us feel, just at this Christmas Festival, that it is for us to resolve to become worthy instruments for the future evolution of humanity. Let us feel the full meaning and gravity of this anthroposophical resolve: we are not to be anthroposophists for our own sakes alone; but, taking into consideration what has just been said, we are to be anthroposophists from a sense of duty towards humanity. Let there shine down upon us symbolically from the Christmas-tree, the Light which can fill us with enthusiasm for our spiritual mission to the race. We shall then have understood something of that which can again give us strength in this New Year to become ever more and more familiar with anthroposophical life and anthroposophical wisdom.