On December 25, 1945, a group of devoted Christian Scientists gathered together for a Christmas party at the home of Miyo Matsukata and her family in Kamakura, Japan. The close of World War II marked the end of a four-year underground practice of Christian Science, which had been brought to Japan only about two decades earlier. That Christmas was a jubilant time for everyone who came together, including military chaplains, members of the occupation forces, Christian Science Monitor correspondents, and volunteer workers. Instead of a pine tree, they celebrated under a decorated bamboo tree and enjoyed a traditional roast turkey brought by the American guests. It was truly a blending of hearts and cultures.
Many of us will be invited to attend Christmas festivities this season, although perhaps not marking such a momentous time in history. For the most part, Christian Scientists across the globe have had the privilege of practicing “above ground” and out in the open for many years. What a gift that is!
During those wartime years, when Christian Science was still a fledgling movement in Japan, the Society in Tokyo disbanded, and followers were forced to keep their practices hidden from the possible regulation of the government. Matsukata even held secret services in her home until the bombing of Tokyo in April 1942. (See The Mary Baker Eddy Library blog “Women of History: Miyo Matsukata” and A Precious Legacy: Christian Science Comes to Japan by Emi Abiko.)