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."
Humility glows and smiles. It is the quality that sets everything right and helps to move forward every healing. "...with humility comes wisdom..." we read in the Biblical Proverbs. Humility in my own definition knows that something is so much bigger than we are. It is the quality that shrinks the human ego and lets God take all the credit, glory, and power.
In Christian Science communities worldwide people gather Wednesday to listen to a brief reading, sing hymns and then enjoy the opportunity to share insights, healings, inspiration with others. I always liked these public, open mid-week meetings, refreshing and invigorating, every time - a very special place for depth and sharing in our busy, loud world. At this week's meeting Anna-Zoë shared an insight about humility that I found very moving. She had been on a recent sunrise hike in the Swiss Alps, and when the hike started she observed the complete absence of color all around her. She is an artist, you should know. Just dark, and now and then a little grey or pale spot - no color though anywhere. And then the sun rose, and with it the colors. Interesting, she thought, that without light there is no color. She noted that this is also true for life. We think in black and white - often in binary options, in limited perspectives more two dimensional than being truly perspectives. But the light of inspiration, the bright presence of good in our experience shines ever so brightly. So how to experience the fullness of being, the full range of possibilities, solutions? It is humility, that helps us to move self out of the way and let the light of Truth shine in our consciousness. Humility moves the obstacles out of the way.
In a noisy and self-assertive era humility seems to be a miracle, but I see it more and more. It belongs to good, it is God's gift to replace self-centeredness and despair with a kind of mental sobriety. We know our place in God's world - and we can feel the warmth from the light of Truth rising in our hearts as much as we can see the millions of colors rising and sparkling in this light of Truth. A little trust, a tiny bit of trust, a willingness to become still, and even stiller - and to hold that stillness, this is all that is needed for the first flowers of humility to appear in our experience.
In our family the saying "humility is always a good idea" has often saved us from going overboard or being off track because of self-importance, the desire to have a say in any given context - or to feel lost and without orientation. It is a quality that keeps us safe.
Mary Baker Eddy who lived humility in extraordinary way wrote about this quality: "Humility is the stepping-stone to a higher recognition of Deity. The mounting sense gathers fresh forms and strange fire from the ashes of dissolving self, and drops the world. Meekness heightens immortal attributes only by removing the dust that dims them." (Miscellaneous Writings 1: 15-19)
On the mountain hike, Anna-Zoë mentioned, during Arc-en-Ciel Summer Camp, one of the campers made a video of a certain part of the hike (yes, it is a video!), where the campers encountered fellow-creatures, humble creatures, wonderful animals. So listen for yourself. Humility has a sound.
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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