I don’t think my home was ever as beautiful. Peace had descended. All was calm. My family was tucked into bed. With fragrant candles burning and a warm fire crackling, I cuddled up in an armchair in front of our Christmas tree and drank in the scene.
I was grateful for the peace and calm, but I wasn’t feeling comfortable or settled. Far from it. The parents of a sick young boy had called that evening to ask for Christian Science treatment for him. I had been searching all evening in my prayers for that sweet assurance that comes when one knows all is well, but hadn’t yet felt it.
The Christmas season and the pre-holiday preparations had always meant a great deal to me. In fact, I loved to recreate a storybook Christmas in our home, full of sweetness and delight of sight and sound. But as I prayed for the child, I could feel something shifting in thought. As I sat alone by the tree, the material trappings of the holiday began to recede from thought as I considered the true meaning of Christmas articulated by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, in the following statement: “An eternal Christmas would make matter an alien save as phenomenon, and matter would reverentially withdraw itself before Mind. The despotism of material sense or the flesh would flee before such reality, to make room for substance, and the shadow of frivolity and the inaccuracy of material sense would disappear.
“In Christian Science, Christmas stands for the real, the absolute and eternal,—for the things of Spirit, not of matter” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 260).
Suddenly, Christmas took on greater significance to me. While surrounded by all the material beauty one could ask for, I realized that there was only one thing that could truly commemorate this Christmas—for the child to be quickly and completely healed.
Christ Jesus showed the world how to heal, overcoming every condition of the flesh and ending matter’s “despotism” through an understanding of Mind, God, and of our real, inseparable relation to God. The Gospel of Mark says that a father named Jairus once implored Jesus to heal his pre-teen daughter, who passed on before he reached their home. Nevertheless, he told her, “Arise,” and she immediately got up and walked, much to everyone’s amazement (see Mark 5). He must have seen so clearly her true nature as God’s child, at one with Spirit, and unfettered by the flesh, or material conditions.
Mrs. Eddy explains: “Jesus acknowledged no ties of the flesh.... He recognized Spirit, God, as the only creator, and therefore as the Father of all” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 31). Although born to a woman, “he was endowed with the Christ, the divine Spirit, without measure” (p. 30). This enabled him to heal the sick and sinning and to be the Way-shower for others who wanted to follow his example of Christ-healing.
More than the experience of a “storybook” Christmas, I wanted to feel the presence of the Christ. And I began to yield to something most essential to Christian healing—an unselfed love that is willing to sacrifice the material and temporary, to make room for what is real and spiritual and permanent.
It was then I saw that divine Love, which is God, was the creator of this young boy and that Love didn’t—wouldn’t, couldn’t—add a destructible material element to His perfect creation. My prayer went beyond words to actually feeling the presence of this all-powerful Love. It wasn’t a physical presence, but a spiritual, holy influence, assuring me that all was well.
The child was healed that night. According to his mother, he joyously announced his healing to the family the next morning.
Needless to say, that Christmas was a precious and memorable one—a sweet reminder that the holiday commemorates so much more than the baby Jesus’ birth, however unique and special that birth was. Through Jesus’ demonstration of the eternal Christ, or divine idea, which has no birth or death, we have been given the precious gift of divine healing.
Mrs. Eddy explains in her Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896: “In different ages the divine idea assumes different forms, according to humanity’s needs. In this age it assumes, more intelligently than ever before, the form of Christian healing. This is the babe we are to cherish. This is the babe that twines its loving arms about the neck of omnipotence, and calls forth infinite care from His loving heart” (p. 370).
As we ourselves truly cherish this “babe” by demonstrating Christ, Truth, in healing the sick, we are celebrating an eternal Christmas, full of genuine substance, and joy, and delight.
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