Who says that Christmas expectancy can't be enriched by a learning curve? Learning and Christmas? Do they go together? I think yes. Christmas is about learning that goodness is real. That divine Love is real. That all men are worthy of love, whole, spiritual, free. That creation is so packed and rich with goodness, that only Love could have done this. The Christ is loving each one of us as if he has nothing else to do. Christmas is all about humility and listening. As Art Fettig said: "Some businessmen are saying this could be the greatest Christmas ever. I always thought that the first one was."
So you might like to look at this Christmas time from the perspective of the shepherds, with an attitude of quiet anticipation. Following a heavenly message of peace and moving towards Bethlehem, where in a modest stable Jesus Christ was born. Moving towards Bethlehem step after step after step.
What my family has been doing for the last Christmas times is to cultivate this attitude of quiet anticipation. We take a special part of the Christian Science textbook and ponder it each day. The chapter "Recapitulation" is comprised of 24 Q&A. We ponder one Q&A each day of December prior to Christmas. You need for it the Bible commentary "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, which you can get here. Candles might shine brightly, there might be hot tea, cookies, Christmas decorations, holiday lights, Lebkuchen, an Advent wreath - all the magnificent ingredients to brighten the Christmas prep time. Advent mornings are wonderful.
And the deeper meaning of Christmas is key to true Christmas peace. Sheer inspiration comes from Mary Baker Eddy - she must have looked at the various ways Jesus Christ is remembered and celebrated in communities and families, I can imagine her looking at little Jesus babes in cribs or mangers, nativity plays, and Christmas services. It all has its place in life, and yet when it comes to real help and healing, something more is in store for us today. She writes:
"Let the sentinels of Zion's watch-towers shout once again, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.”
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."
(Mis. 370:9-15 (to 2nd .))
So the chapter "Recapitulation" serves me as a self-instruction course in preparing my thought to receive more of the Christian healing, Jesus introduced. I love to learn more about Christianity by learning more about the Science of Christianity with its healing dimension and practical impact. Although the word "Christmas" does neither occur in the Bible nor in the chapter "Recapitulation". The 24 sections in the chapter serve as 24 steps, they approach the deeper meaning of Christmas in quiet anticipation. The "course overview" can be found here, you might call it "The Christian Science Advent Calendar."
I woke up in the middle of night with intense pain in my body. So intense that it absorbed my thought and was the only thing I could, well, think about. But very soon I was mentally calm enough to start praying - listening for an answer and being unwilling to take physical evidence more seriously than I take God. Is God a continuing presence? Absolutely.
It came to me with much clarity that man as God's child, is always and under any circumstance linked to the creator, the source of all being, the center of Life. And because of this link I could immediately gain access to painless good, that is always there, always where we are. Pain is a distressing feeling of discomfort - emotional or physical - in consciousness, I realized quickly, and in consciousness alone. Since I have access to good, I have access to peaceful feelings of God's care and support, of harmony and health. This access to good overrides the physical access to pain - because instead of having a link to mortality, man is eternally linked to immortality - here and now and always. We have open access to good. It is like being a house guest - you are entitled to be where you are, instead of standing in front of the closed door. You don't ring the doorbell - you are already in! Man has access to good, always! I could not only understand this truth, but feel its impact as God's goodness expressed itself beautifully in my thought. The pain disappeared immediately and I went back to sleep.
Waking up very early I was led with intensive gratitude to ponder some ideas Mary Baker Eddy shares about consciousness. Because consciousness is key to understanding the art and science of healing. What a gift to know our individual consciousness as a place in which God rules and peace is the norm. I found these quotes about "consciousness" especially inspiring, explaining to me the experience of the night:
Entirely separate from the belief and dream of material living, is the Life divine, revealing spiritual understanding and the consciousness of man's dominion over the whole earth. (SH 14:25-28)
Spiritual, not corporeal, consciousness is needed. (SH 67:27-28)
Material sense does not unfold the facts of existence; but spiritual sense lifts human consciousness into eternal Truth. (SH 95:30-32)
Often in the Bible the word "place", "court" or "house" means really consciousness. After all, it is a spiritual God speaking, dwelling in a spiritual creation - everywhere, omnipresent good. So in this light I find this Psalm very inspiring, proclaiming the painless presence of God right where we are - in our own consciousness:
"I've always longed to live in a place like this, always dreamed of a room in your house, where I could sing for joy to God-alive!" (Psalm 84: 2, The Message)
For additional inspiration you will enjoy this interview with Marian English, a Christian Science practitioner and teacher. The topic of the interview is "No more pain - that's a promise".
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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