I once saw an ad on television that featured a woman frantically trying to finish her Christmas preparations. On her very long shopping list was written, “To get: Christ. pres.”
Undoubtedly the abbreviation referred to “Christmas presents.” But what first popped into my thought when I saw it was “Christ presence.” And what came to me next was, “We don’t have to ‘get’ that—Christ, Truth, is always present.”
Engrossed in my own holiday to-do list at the time, I was so grateful for this reminder. At this time of year it can be tempting to stress about what we think we need to do to make Christmas “happen.” But Christ isn’t “coming”; Christ is already here, has always been and always will be. We don’t prepare for the Christ-idea by purchasing some specific item or making a particular plan for the holiday. We receive this idea into our consciousness with a receptive heart, and we can do so right here and now.
As we read in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: “The advent of Jesus of Nazareth marked the first century of the Christian era, but the Christ is without beginning of years or end of days. Throughout all generations both before and after the Christian era, the Christ, as the spiritual idea,—the reflection of God,—has come with some measure of power and grace to all prepared to receive Christ, Truth” (p. 333).
Christ, the spiritual idea of sonship—including the true nature of everyone’s relationship to God; the spiritual agreement between God and His likeness, man; and our unity with God—isn’t confined to dates on a calendar, or found in human festivities or material presents. Christ is ever present, working in us all, never burdening us, but lifting our understanding out of a false sense of life in matter toward a clearer perception of spiritual reality. What a freeing reminder of what Christmas in its truest, deepest sense is commemorating!
Liz Butterfield Wallingford