Christmas in January?

DECEMBER need not be the only month in which to feel the special joy and warmth of ``on earth peace, good will toward men.''1 Welcoming the Prince of Peace into our hearts and lives requires no special date. Why not today? What is the special significance of the Christmas message that makes ``good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people''2 so relevant throughout the year?

One aspect might be the recognition of man's spiritual individuality as illustrated in the life of Christ Jesus. Each day provides opportunity to forward the birth of a higher view of ourselves and others as God's beloved sons and daughters. A hymn says, referring to God, ``For Thou hast shown to us our perfect selfhood/In Thy loved Son, whom Jesus came to prove.''3

Realizing man's true identity as God's likeness enables us to share the good tidings of humanity's God-derived power to heal, a power that the Master invoked again and again in redeeming the sinner and healing the sick. Praying from the standpoint of everyone's true status as children of God, we're able to overcome the common view of man as ``a born loser,'' a fleshly personality running an obstacle race of pressing challenges with no finish line in sight.

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The continuity of a Christmas for all seasons is seen in the truly caring actions of those who are helping the homeless and the hungry--not only helping them in the most obvious ways but also providing the recognition that each one of them is someone worth caring about, even cherishing. Restoring a sense of individual worth is the Christly charity that helps to free another to be himself, an honored child of God.

Can Christmas be celebrated in a busy airport in July? Yes, it can. While waiting for a homeward flight, I began to feel unhappy about my work, even though the results had been successful. Then I turned to God, to divine Mind, which guides and governs us as we're receptive to divine direction. Unhappiness dissolved before gratitude for the wide, beneficial impact of this work.

Suddenly I saw that, in a very profound sense, the depressed, dissatisfied thinking was not my thinking, because it wasn't natural to, or characteristic of, God's spiritual likeness. It was as though I were standing on the sidelines, watching the situation objectively. I saw that the depression was aggressive evil and that I could defend myself against it. My true being was not a selfish, material personality but an individual expression of divine Love itself, created to do good. The spiritual sunlight of a higher motivation and the realization of what the job was doing for my own progress dispelled the cloud of depression and sent me home with joy and goodwill. I had felt the powerful, healing presence of the Christ, which is with us year-round.

Despite appearances, man lives in a God-governed universe. He reflects the divine order, beauty, harmony, and joy that naturally belong to the perfect child of God. The more we understand and demonstrate our spiritual relationship to God in the way Jesus taught us, the more the human scene brightens, even sparkles, and the more we experience Immanuel, ``God with us,'' as the supreme gift for all seasons.

Christmas grasped in its timeless import can never really be considered as over. Its rejuvenating spirit and regenerating impact, springing from an understanding of man's true identity and purpose, make us more alive to opportunities to bless and be blessed. An ongoing Christmas inspires us to learn and to live what we really are.

The wise men looked up to a star to guide them to a new and brighter event that was to change the destiny of all mankind. We too can lift our vision to the divine nature that glows within us all.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``As a material, theoretical life-basis is found to be a misapprehension of existence, the spiritual and divine Principle of man dawns upon human thought, and leads it to `where the young child was,'--even to the birth of a new-old idea, to the spiritual sense of being and of what Life includes. Thus the whole earth will be transformed by Truth on its pinions of light, chasing away the darkness of error.''4

The ever-present healing Christ reveals to human consciousness the divine reality of God and man, of perfect creator and blessed creation. Isn't that our continuing day-by-day celebration?

1Luke 2:14. 2Luke 2:10. 3Christian Science Hymnal, No. 356. 4Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 191. DAILY BIBLE VERSE We have the mind of Christ. I Corinthians 2:16

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