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Gifts from the heart

From the December 2016 issue of The Christian Science Journal


At this Christmas season, many Christians around the world are peacefully rejoicing in the advent of the Christ and its promise for the world. Others are in war-torn areas, keeping the faith as best they can. Yet all are bound together through the gift of God’s love—the Christ, Truth, that Jesus’ birth signifies for humanity.

In this time of gift-giving, we asked the Christian Science Board of Directors what gift they would most like to give to the world at this special time of the year. This question was inspired by the theme for Annual Meeting this year, “Church: ‘Healing and saving the world.’ ”

Let’s first hear from Margaret Rogers:

The gift I would most like to give is to help others feel the increasing and irresistible oneness that is coming in the world. I believe that very feeling compelled wise people to follow a bright light to Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. Their conviction that a new order of goodwill and peace was dawning gave them courage to seek something higher than the status quo of material power. All the cruelty and division in the world couldn’t stop their commitment to find the source of this spiritual light and share it with others. 

My gift is made of two ongoing, inseparable elements—prayer and action. Prayer that realizes all of earth’s inhabitants are ideas of one sinless Father-Mother Spirit is the inexhaustible power source for healing, saving action. Prayer brings confidence that we can live up to our spiritual nature, that we can love unselfishly and oppose injustice effectively. Prayer brings inner peace and commitment to prove God’s ability to heal troubled situations. It inspires forgiveness and correction when we or others act out of ignorance of our better selves. Prayer-based action makes the oneness of creation more evident. It helps all of us find the unlimited good God gives. 

And from A. W. Phinney:

There are so many gifts one would like to give the world, not just at Christmas but every day. Who wouldn’t want to add more love, help increase the extraordinary healing that comes through the practice of Christian Science for individuals and whole communities, and ​contribute to the great strengthening and renewal of the Cause of Christian Science that is going on now?

But the words of the Apostle James have something to say about where the good we accomplish actually comes from and why it’s possible. He writes, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” ​(​James ​1:17).​

Christian Science teaches the even deeper, wider lesson that God is not only the source of all the good we see and do, but also He is Life, this “​L​ife in and of Spirit; … being the sole reality of existence,” as Mrs. Eddy states it (​​Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 24)​.

But here’s the thing. We learn we can be led into this reality, this new universe, like little children.

Having “opened” at least some of this gift of God in my life, I guess this is the one I would so yearn to share with the whole world.

Next is Scott Preller:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This wouldn’t have been much of a gift if it only began with Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem and ended with the crucifixion at Calvary. And the gift wouldn’t come with much joy, if it meant that giving it somehow deprived God of good. God gave His Son, but He didn’t give away His Son. And the reason God gave His Son was because “God so loved the world,” not because the world was so messed up that it needed a desperate act of sacrifice on God’s part.

The significance of God’s gift is evident throughout Jesus’ ministry, and is as present today as when people were with him in Galilee. It is the actuality of Immanuel, or God with us. It is the fact that the kingdom of God is present and within us. It is the reality that Christ is speaking to our consciousness now, making evident our own true stature as children of God. If I could give humanity one gift, it would be the same one I’m unwrapping myself—more moments of turning away from sin and pain to find what Christ Jesus’ example makes clear, which is that man is right now the beloved, spiritually governed child of God. “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (II Corinthians 9:15).

And from Lyle Young:

As a Christmas gift I’d love to see more clearly the Christliness of everyone around the world.

In Christian Science Christmas represents the truth that Jesus proved—that Christ, Truth, is ever present and forever governing every individual in his or her true and only being as God’s image and likeness. Each individual shines today and always, as perfect, holy, well, and free. This innate Christliness that we all have has never been corrupted or diminished. Truly divine Love maintains each of us as the apple of His eye (see Deuteronomy 32:10), sacrosanct and inviolable. Our holding this in thought brings it out naturally in selflessness, health, and joy.

Eight years ago at Christmastime I gave a Christian Science lecture at a large Muslim university in a Muslim country. Afterward the senior university administrator thanked me. He said that though he was Muslim he felt great gratitude for Jesus, especially relative to Easter—gratitude for the Master’s spirit of self-sacrifice and giving.

This Christmas I pray that we all more fully “sacrifice” a limited or even suffering sense of ourselves and realize the Christliness that is God’s free gift to each of us at every moment of our being.

And finally from Robin Hoagland:

The gift I would lay at the feet of humanity this Christmas is humility. It allowed those wise men so long ago to let all their learning—all their knowledge of the world’s means and methods, its systems of power and prestige, its arrogant promises of comfort in matter—bow before the Christ. In that Bethlehem stable, they sought and found something their best gifts could only begin to honor: a new understanding of God and man. 

This spiritual nature of reality speaks throughout all time and to every heart. It is impartial, inclusive, and universal. The ongoing advent of Christ in human consciousness doesn’t divide the world. It unites it.

But this God-message and God-activity can be too easily missed. Herod and his advisors couldn’t find the Christ child.

Then, as today, it is humility that deletes the disorienting selfies of self-justification, self-will, self-doubt, self-absorption and allows us to discover in ourselves and in each other the true identity that is spiritual, whole, pure, and satisfied.

It can be a journey. And it can be a struggle. But humility brings us to the Christ and opens us—all of us—to the Science of Christ-healing that blesses the world.

 

May these gifts resonate in hearts and homes everywhere. And may the special blessings of Christmas enrich our lives and thus help bring “on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).

Deborah Huebsch

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