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‘His name shall be called Wonderful’

From the December 2013 issue of The Christian Science Journal

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The Christmas season is here. Voices harmonize in song to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ centuries ago. Audiences flock to concert halls and churches to hear Messiah, Handel’s sublime oratorio based on this biblical prophecy: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Contrary to what the Hebrew people might have thought would be a change merely in Israel’s government, the promise of a future Savior, or Messiah, revealed redemption and freedom already established by divine authority. This promised Savior would bless all people with God’s unconditional love, and would bring peace and salvation to all nations. Of Isaiah’s prophecy, Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “At first, the babe Jesus seemed small to mortals; but from the mount of revelation, the prophet beheld it from the beginning as the Redeemer, who would present a wonderful manifestation of Truth and Love” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 164).

During his three-year healing ministry, Jesus dealt with young and old, rich and poor. For many, his teachings were radical. Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish council, asked what Jesus meant when he said people must be born again: “How can a man be born when he is old?” Jesus replied, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.… Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (see John 3:1–7).

This “re-birth,” however, had nothing to do with material conception and birth. Jesus was teaching the need for “baptism,” or the washing away of false theories about life as subject to material birth, decline, and death, as well as the need to purify oneself from sinful thinking and acting. Through this “new birth,” the Christ—the power behind Jesus’ teachings—frees each of us from the generally accepted concepts that we live in a mortal body and then die out of it. This spiritualization of our thought doesn’t happen with a snap of our fingers, but it is ongoing as we live in accord with the divine will or the Christ nature as demonstrated by Jesus.

Spiritualization of our thought doesn’t happen with a snap of our fingers, but it is ongoing as we live in accord with the Christ nature as demonstrated by Jesus.

Serving on my homeowners’ board of directors has impelled me to diligent prayer to gain a better sense of how the Christ can help me express a more spiritual sense of home and harmony. Financial issues related to our building’s maintenance often caused major disagreement among owners.

Through my prayers, I’ve realized that neither an argumentative nor a conciliatory approach to problem solving is enough. The demand is for a more spiritual and higher realization of man’s true selfhood, which already includes peace and harmony. To see others, as well as myself, as God knows and sees us! This realization has caused me to look away from the so-called “personalities” of my neighbors and turn instead to divine Mind, looking through what Mrs. Eddy refers to as the “lens of Science.” Through this lens, it’s possible to see man as the very reflection of God.

There have been noticeable changes in our condo community. Although ours is a work in progress, I can truly say that business is conducted in a more harmonious and respectful way; residents are more willing to be helpful to one another; problems with pets and loud music have been resolved. I like to say that we actually live in the same house, although in different rooms. And the spiritual reality is that we all are one family of spiritual ideas dwelling in the “kingdom of heaven.”

The reality of God and man’s relationship to divinity points to the spiritual and only origin of each of us—of every man, woman, and child. This is the significance of having Christ, the universal Savior—in individual consciousness—present right now.

In this way, the Christmas story is also our story. Although there will only ever be one Christ Jesus and one virgin birth, the story this tells is about our own spiritual origin and relationship to one Parent, our Father-Mother God, the only creator. It points to salvation, the spiritual awakening out of false beliefs about material conception, sin, limitation—about material life itself.

In a Christmas message to her followers in 1888, Mrs. Eddy asked and answered a question related to the scientific healing power of the Christ. In that answer she personifies the term “Christ Science”: “Is he wonderful? His works thus prove him. He giveth power, peace, and holiness; he exalteth the lowly; he giveth liberty to the captive, health to the sick, salvation from sin to the sinner—and overcometh the world!” (Miscellaneous Writings, pp. 167–168).

Imagine! Christ, the gift of God! Freedom from worldly beliefs! Available to everyone! Every day! This is what impels us to sing along with the libretto of Handel’s inspired Messiah: “My Redeemer liveth! … And his name shall be called Wonderful!”

Diane Dailey is a practitioner and teacher of Christian Science who lives in West Hollywood, California.

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