What is the opposite of envy? Generosity? Happiness? Satisfaction? Modesty? Perhaps all of it. But basically I feel, the opposite, and perfect antidote to envy is the knowledge of being loved by Love, God. Before we can feel generous and happy and express satisfaction and peace it is important to feel that we have something to share.
In a limited world without God everything is limited, but this is not the true story of mankind. There is more to life than eyes can see and ears behold – and this more is supreme, limitless, intelligent, wonderful Principle Soul, the dear Father-Mother. Soul is surrounding us, balancing us, enriching us, forming constructive and colorful relationships for us, strengthening our joy and gratitude and giving us life – and we know that God exists because we exist. There is no other explanation.
Envy presented itself to me in a very disturbing way some time ago. It came to me when an opportunity was given to my best friend, an offer that I felt, was meant for me. Why her and not me? How to reconcile the envy and the friendship? While attending a service I thought about this dilemma and I asked to be freed from this negativity and nagging feeling, envy. And the answer came clearly with the tenth commandment:
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."
How could I do this? After all, this is a commandent, not an option. How could I see that all opportunities are mine? That mine is the fullness of life and joy as much as my friend's? Again, that answer came clearly with a commandment, this time with the first one: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Ex. 20: 4 and 17).
Keeping the first commandment enables us to keep the tenth, I thought. It makes sense to have the first as the first. It teaches me to acknowledge the unity and supremacy of good, to see unlimited possibilities of eternity and Spirit, the joy of divine Life. Here nothing is tight, restricted – everything is free to all. Could I accept that? Of course – and it felt easy to let go; the mental thorns fell of and the velvet of pure goodness filled my thinking. It feels so good to be free from envy. Indeed: "Envy is the atmosphere of hell." ('02, p.3: 28)
My friend asked me a few weeks later whether she could offer this opportunity to me. I honestly do not know, I answered. Let's find out together, I said. Let's listen and pray together. There is definitely enough space and opportunity for all.
Eventually both of us finally decided on different actions and were led to other opportunities, blessing us both immensely. In the face of colorful, divine supply of boundless, beautiful good, embracing everyone, envy is small, very small and ugly and pinched, only large enough to notice it and to walk away from it, forever. Thinking in the divine way of generosity and wideness, and walking in the practical application of solidarity with our fellow sister and brother, as faithfully and courageously as we possibly can --- this is the way.
Envy was not transformed, as anything negative ever is. Envy was not lifted to the level of my thinking any more. It was left behind for the richness of the holiness of Spirit.
You will be at peace when you know that Spirit is your life. You will have the courage to be honest when you know that you are the reflection of spiritual power. You will have deeper faith when you feel and know that spiritual understanding is already yours as God’s own child. You will have more compassion with yourself and others when you know that you are the image and likeness of Love. Already now. You have all the information you need.
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."
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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