According to Silver Birch, the spirit entity who communicated for nearly 50 years through the trance mediumship of Maurice Barbanell, a British journalist, certain groups in the afterlife spheres celebrate the holidays – both Christmas and Easter. However, he pointed out that these celebrations were going on well before the Christian era gave added meaning to them.
At what is now Christmas time, the birth of the sun was celebrated – the end of the long cycle when there arose the first sign that new life was being born into the earthly world. Then, when the sun attained its fully glory it was regarded as a period of resurrection. “Those times had significance to us because it was then that we received the greatest communion from the Great Spirit,” he explained. “You do not yet understand very much the influence of the sun. At these times, we held for many days what you call séances. We received at those festivals much inspiration.”
The festival of the birth of the sun was the most important, Silver Birch added, because it represented the beginning of a new era. It was the end of one cycle and the beginning of a new one. Because the festivals were held in the world of matter, they were celebrated in the world of spirit. “A spiritual meaning has now come out of them,” Silver Birch continued. “Instead of celebrating the dawn of the new life, we now use it to withdraw from the world of matter to get new power of the spirit so that we can bring new light to the world.”
At what might be called retreats here on earth, these advanced spirits take counsel from even higher spirits, share experiences, learn how far they have succeeded or failed, and formulate plans for future missions. Among those higher spirits who give counsel, he said, “is the great figure of the Nazarene, who is still imbued with the task of teaching humanity age-old truth enshrined in all that we seek to do, that love is the fulfilling of the law.”
However, Silver Birch stressed that he is not the Nazarene of the Churches, exalted into a deified place, but rather a great spirit who strives still to serve through many instruments. “I wish that you could see and hear the Nazarene and feel that great love as he encourages us in our missions, as he expresses his knowledge of all that has been done and urges us to go forward with new strength, with new hope, with new vision, and with new purpose.”
One of the sitters asked Silver Birch if in referring to the Nazarene, he was speaking of the man Jesus or the spirit forces working through him. “The man,” Silver Birch replied through the entranced medium. “But he has since evolved and there is now a far greater spiritual consciousness expressed through him than there was in the earthly incarnation, for the amount that he expressed then had to be in consonance with the limitations of his day. There has never been on earth anyone through whom the manifestation of the spirit has been greater than through the Nazarene. There has never been any through whom the laws have revealed themselves at so great an intensity as through the Nazarene.”
At another sitting, a person asked Silver Birch if Jesus was “God the Son,” as the Church teaches, or if he was an ordinary man with great mediumistic powers. Silver Birch answered: “The Nazarene was a messenger of the Great Spirit who came into your world in order to fulfill a mission of the Great Spirit. He fulfilled his mission on earth, but he has not yet fulfilled the rest of his mission, which is till being directed from the world of spirit. It is wrong to worship the Nazarene, for worship should be given only to the Great Spirit and not to His messengers. The Nazarene came into your world by fulfilling the natural laws which the Great Spirit had ordained, the same natural laws which all must fulfill in order to be born into your world. You cannot live, you cannot be born into your world, you cannot pass from your world into mine, except through the natural laws of the Great Spirit.”
Asked about the Christian doctrine of atonement, Silver Birch said: “How pitiable a conception is this of the Great Spirit and of the mission of the Nazarene! He was full of the love and mercy and gentleness of a loving Father. You are all placed in the world of matter to build your own character and accomplish your own soul evolution…All else is a doctrine of cowardice and injustice. If you have done wrong, be a man and pay the price! Do not attempt to shelve your responsibilities on to the back of another.”