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Christmas—an eternal gift of love

God's gift to humanity never stops.And it always brings healing and joy.

From the December 2000 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Every Christmas reminds me that the reason people love hearing the account of Jesus' birth again and again is that it hints at something we intuitively know: that although we weren't present at the first Christmas, we can still receive the Christ. Christ comes to us right now, where we are. Christ is the message of God's boundless love for humanity. Just because we missed the birth of Jesus, we don't have to miss the point of his appearance on earth! Christmas is not only about the baby Jesus, born of a virgin in a manger, who would teach and do great and wonderful things. It's about Christ Jesus.

Jesus' birth illustrates God's love for everyone.

The term Christ has many meanings. It's Jesus' divine title and nature. It means "Messiah." Christ is the saving, healing Truth coming from God to humanity. The nature of Christ is to purify and heal. It makes us conscious of good where evil appears to be. It inspires us to know God. Christmas is Christ's coming. It is actually continuous and eternal.

Christ has always been with us. In the Old Testament of the Bible, before Jesus came, there are remarkable examples of God's healing and saving power. Receptive hearts always perceive the Christ. Today, when people are healed through the Science of Christ, or Christian Science, they've felt the touch of the Christ. They've seen something of the absolute truth that God made us in His image, whole and free. They've seen proof that God tenderly cares for and loves His creation—that we're spiritual, not material. This is the eternal truth of existence, the always-present spiritual reality.

One year at ChristmasTime, I was ill with a severe cold and flu. We had gone to the home of some friends for a Christmas dinner, and I found myself in the bedroom so overcome by symptoms that I couldn't be a part of the festivites. My husband came in to see if he could help, and we prayed together for a few moments. When he left, I began to think about the Christmas story and what it might teach me now. I thought about those who gathered to greet the baby Jesus. There were certain attitudes, certain qualities, in these people. They were humble and obedient. I saw that, in order to welcome the healing Christ into my thought, I could be humble enough—as Joseph and Mary had been—to be undistracted by the obstacles before me. They'd had to completely abandon their ideas about how the birth would come, and when and where. They'd had to trust God's plan and the divine possibilities. When the angel had visited Mary, announcing the events to come, it had promised, "With God nothing shall be impossible." Luke 1:37.

The shepherds were receptive and ready when they heard the divine message about the birth. They immediately went to search for the child. "They came with haste," the Bible says. Luke 2:16. They certainly felt joy! So I could be joyful and expectant, even eager for the healing truth that God is always sending. The wise men, who had seen the star,single-mindedly followed it, and then presented valuable gifts to the child. See Matt. 2:1–11 . I, too, could stay right on the course, faithfully following the spiritual light coming to me. And I could give in two ways: I could give up believing in sickness and misery, and I could give grateful homage to the truth that health was my actual condition as God's child.

Like the shepherds, I could be joyful, open to God's truth.

Trust, humility, receptivity, self-sacrifice, a great expectation of divine possibilities, and a desire to pay homage were qualities expressed by those who were part of the first Christmas. I realized that I could accentuate these same God-given qualities, already within me. I saw that symptoms of sickness, no matter how severe, couldn't block the Christ or keep its light from filling my consciousness. I could be as willing as Mary and Joseph had been, and as willing as the shepherds and wise men were, to go forward and see God's goodness appear. Because God's love for us is constant, it's natural to expect Christ's healing activity to be continuous. As I thought about this, within moments the heavy symptoms began to break up. I felt the warmth of the Christ, of God's love. It came over me so quickly that I remember crying with relief and joy. That was Christmas!

Proving The Eternal, healing power of Christ is observing Christmas in the truest sense. We can put ourselves in a "manger" frame of thought. The manger was simple and quiet and protected. The atmosphere of the manger is a humble attitude where Christ enters. Each day we can bow low in prayer to realize that God is All, and all good, and that we are His dear children. God is governing His creation attentively, thoroughly, and we are part of this government. We are under His supreme law of Love. In His kingdom there's no opposition to Him, no threat. God provides continuous peace to everyone.

In the manger atmosphere, we find the stillness to hear the answers to our deepest prayers. God is with us and helping us. He will never stop speaking to us. The Christ comes to our waiting thought.

Christmas is this perpetual coming, and we can feel this healing presence of God whenever we are communing with Him. Warm gatherings of family and friends can be a natural expression of God's love. And these times don't have to distract us from the deeper meaning of Christmas that Mary Baker Eddy writes about: "Christmas respects the Christ too much to submerge itself in merely temporary means and ends. It represents the eternal informing Soul recognized only in harmony, in the beauty and bounty of Life everlasting,—in the truth that is Life, the Life that heals and saves mankind." The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, pp. 259–260.

Humbly, like Mary and Joseph, we can expect divine possibilities. Receptive, like the shepherds, we can let healing truth into our hearts. Like the wise men, we can follow the light. There's no time like right now, this very minute, to have Christmas.

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