In a single, compact verse in the third chapter of John we find recorded an unbounded act of giving: ''God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'' n1
n1 John 3:16.
God's only begotten Son is His gift to the world, to each of us. Christ Jesus has shown us the way of salvation through his teachings and unparalleled works. He has shown us the way of proving our eternal sonship with God, with unending good. This true idea of man's sonship with his creator is the timeless Christ, which was exemplified by Jesus.
There's no way we can grasp this spiritual idea without the example of Jesus; without cherishing the life story that stretches from the manger to Gethsemane to the tomb, and finally, to the ascension. In his birth and life and ultimate triumph, Jesus was the perfect example of the true idea of sonship. But the Christ itself goes beyond one time or place. Its appearing is not frozen at a single point in history. Its applicability is not restricted to a single individual. Its message is for all time, for all mankind. The message is that every one of us, in his actual spiritual selfhood, comes from God, is the very offspring of limitless good.
Christian Science, in accord with the Bible, brings this point home. It teaches that God is Father-Mother and that man is the beloved child of this one Father-Mother God. This is the spiritual fact. And to the degree that we discern and feel and live this fact, it displaces the mistaken conviction that we are doomed mortals, and the ills stemming from that conviction. We prove the spiritual fact by degrees through following the Master, Christ Jesus, in every way we are now able to. Certainly we're following his example as we're loving, pure, and honest.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes: ''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.'' n2
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 333
The very act of giving implies receiving. God's giving is limitless. We need to learn to be more receptive, to be better receivers. That verse from John gets to the heart of it: ''God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son , that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'' That's it - ''whosoever believeth in him . . . .'' That's the part we have to play in receiving the gift of God. The more we believe in him - understand and practice Jesus' teachings, cultivate the Christ-spirit - the more our own true nature as a child of God comes to light.
If this sounds too lofty, too unattainable, keep the Christmas story in mind. Picture the babe Jesus in a manger, among the cattle. It was not a scene marked by loftiness, but by modesty and simplicity. And this is how the Christ, the spiritual idea of sonship, appears in our lives today.
As we work to understand our Father-Mother God and His idea, we find this idea appearing in our lives. We express more of our real, Christlike selfhood, more purity and goodness. We gain greater dominion over the ills inherent in a mortal, physical sense of life. In increasing degree we find we are able to prove that the spiritual idea of sonship, exemplified by Jesus, is timelessly true for us and for all mankind. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. II Corinthians 9:15