Going home for Christmas?
THE question is heard frequently as the holidays approach. It calls forth from some people an immediate, positive response. Others, however, may respond sadly, ``There is no longer a home to return to.'' And some may fear a visit home because there are vivid memories of past hurts and apprehension about future ones. Since Christmas is truly a celebration of God's love for mankind in giving the world ``his only begotten Son,''1 what better way can we celebrate than making new discoveries of our God-given ability to express the Christly love that brings healing? At one time I did not look forward at all to a family Christmas. There was friction between two members who would be present. And a young husband and wife were having a very unhappy time, which I feared could become evident to my parents and cause them great unhappiness. Then came the Christly message ``Stop fearing and pray instead.''
Several times in the first chapter of Genesis, as creation unfolds, we are told that God saw it was good. So each time an individual family member came to thought, I resolved to accept that person's true nature as expressing the good that is God--the good that is expressed by all His creation.
After church, the day before Christmas, the family gathered at an inn for Sunday dinner. As we were finishing dinner, I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder, and a woman whispered, ``You have a lovely family. And what a happy family!'' I barely had time to murmur ``Thank you!'' and she was gone.
Conversation at our table had stopped, and I felt there was some question as to why I had not introduced her, so I explained that I had never seen her before, and I repeated her comments. I was certain she had been God-impelled to rejoice with me in what she may have discerned I was rejoicing in! Needless to say, there was that year a true Christmas experience throughout the family's time together.
Mary Baker Eddy2 writes, ``In Christian Science, Christmas stands for the real, the absolute and eternal,--for the things of Spirit, not of matter.'' And further along on the same page she says, ``The basis of Christmas is the rock, Christ Jesus; its fruits are inspiration and spiritual understanding of joy and rejoicing,--not because of tradition, usage, or corporeal pleasures, but because of fundamental and demonstrable truth, because of the heaven within us.''3
The Biblical allegory of Adam and Eve suggests man's separation from God. But Jesus understood the inseparability of man from God and thus showed us how to claim God's first gift to man--dominion over the earth. Since all the good that has ever been expressed has its origin in God, and since man truly has his origin in God, we are proving our sonship with the one Parent, Father-Mother God, as we claim and express good.
Jesus understood that it is people's expression of the divine nature that makes for family ties in the deepest, truest sense. He said, ``Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.''4 So whether we have a happy home to return to for Christmas, no home at all, or one that we feel unhappy about, through prayer we can find the ``inspiration and spiritual understanding of joy and rejoicing.'' We can obey the commandments Jesus declared to be most important--to love God with all our hearts and our neighbor as ourselves. Loving God, we love good and understand that whatever is unlike the divine nature has no basis in truth, no legitimacy.
As we look beyond the personal, fleshly sense of each one and silently affirm the presence of the good of God expressed in man, we will, in a sense, have taken that individual into God's house. We can do this year round at our jobs, in the community, as we walk down the street. Then, wherever Christmas Day happens to find us, we will know we are ``home'' for Christmas.
1John 3:16. 2The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 3The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 260. 4Matthew 12:50. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE This is the message that ye have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. I John 3:11