We would all like to be more open-minded in our life, wouldn’t we? To be more tolerant of the passing situations in the world, less bothered by the behavior of others, and more accepting of new ideas about our self and life. There is an ease to living with no resistance to the world around us, and with the peaceful awareness that we (alone) are responsible for what we think and how we feel. Open-mindedness, according to A Course in Miracles, can best be understood as it relates to forgiveness and acquired through the practice of lack of judgment. The practice of forgiveness and non-judgment gives us more mental clarity, more emotional calm, and even more physical energy.

Our Inner experience of the qualities symbolized by the Advent Candles of the Christmas Season can give us all we need to be open-minded. The lighting of the Advent candles each Sunday at The Life Enrichment Center symbolizes, for us, not the coming of Christ outside of us, but the becoming of Christ within us. As we allow the Hope, Peace, Love and Joy present in the Light of Christ to be actively present within us, that Light shining in our awareness makes non-judgment and forgiveness easy to practice. No matter what we’ve done, no matter what we believe others have done to us—no matter who, no matter why, no matter when—as we’re willing to let go of whatever it was, and live in the Present Moment where it’s not (unless we bring it with us), we discover our inner Peace joins with our inner strength of Hope and creates a flame so bright within us that, as we move on from the past, guides us forward lighting the way even in our darkest hour.

All the sparkle, color and shining lights of the season are a beautiful celebration of the birth of Christ Jesus on earth. Jesus let the Light of Christ shine so brightly through him as he walked the earth that many in the world today are still guided by It. As we celebrate that profound earth birth, we are celebrating the one who was called, “The Prince of Peace.” Even in the midst of what would seem the darkest hour of his earth life, Jesus didn’t wait for an apology before he chose forgiveness. He kept his mind clear of the darkness of judgment that would hide the Light and Power of Christ from him. The Bible tells us that he said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” He understood they didn’t have a clue they were crucifying part of themselves because all Life shares One Life, One Creation, One Beautiful Sonship with God.

Because we havebeen given freewill and freedom of choice, there is no one doctrine or religion that rules over us. We are free to explore our own ideas about life, and to experience the results of our beliefs. We all have different ways we deal with life’s troubles and life’s joys. If we are to live peacefully with our outer differences and diversities, if we are to live with individual freedom without hurting others or our self, it’s essential for us to remember our Inner Oneness. We are one life together, governed by only One Law, the Law of Love. We share the same Oneness with God and all Creation while we’re here in human form that Jesus shared while he was here in human form. The same Universal Spiritual Power, the same Holy Vibration of Creation, and the same Law of Love that kept Jesus healthy, happy, loving, peaceful, and a healing presence his whole earth life is available to us right now. It can (and will) keep us healthy, happy, loving, peaceful, and a healing presence the rest of our earth life—if we claim our Oneness with that Power and live in the Peace It brings.

The Light of Peace, the Light of Christ, is the Powerful Energy we access through our identification with It. Through the energy our thoughts emit, our thoughts become things that appear in our life—particular people, events, circumstances, and happenings we attract to us through our identification with that particular energy. All we need to do is look around us at the forms, expressions and conditions we are attracting into our life to determine who we think we are. The vibration of any thought turns into more thoughts, and those thoughts turn into inner experiences that turn into the outer things we call “our” life in the visible world.

You’ve likely heard this analogy before, but it’s worth repeating: The evolution of our thought is like a seed planted in the ground that is first a seed, then the seed turns into a sprout, the sprout turns into a plant, and the plant bears something wonderful (or not). In the same way the thoughts we “plant” within the Creative Medium of the Universe bear something wonderful (or not.) If we are always thinking about outer things, especially things that cause us to feel anxious, fearful and unhappy, without considering the thoughts we’re thinking that are causing those things to appear to us in the way they do, we won’t find Peace in the world because Its Light must be lit from within us through thoughts of Peace that cause us to feel the calm of Peace.

Throughout our life it may have seemed to us at times (or all the time) that life was out get us, or at least that it wasn’t for us; that somehow we’d drawn the joker in the Cosmic deck and “good for us” wasn’t in the cards. So when someone or some situation seemed to threaten us, we came out fighting with an army of negative thoughts to protect self (if the Universe wasn’t going to!). But instead of protecting us, those thoughts imprisoned us by slowly encircling our mind and eventually taking away our day-to-day happiness. It’s been said that forgiveness is a gift we give to our self because it sets us free from the dank mental and emotional prison of guilt, blame, fear and victimhood within our own mind.

It becomes easier for us to let go of the judgments that have been holding our dreams hostage as we recognize we don’t know what’s next for anyone along their life path and, therefore, it is foolish for us to judge what we see in any given moment no matter what anyone appears to have run into along their path (or stepped in). Each of us is responsible only for own individual path of self discovery and -spiritual awakening. Only our path is our business because it is the only one we can walk.

Forgiveness clears our mind of the darkness of judgment that would hide our shining path of peace from us. Then we can live our true identity as a Prince or Princess of Peace in full awareness in each moment that we have inherited the Kingdom of Choice.