Cherishing Christ At Christmas
IS the celebration of Christmas dependent on an abundance of material goods? Magazines are full of advice on how to decorate and what to buy. But are such lavish displays truly able to satisfy the heart's spiritual longing, which Christmas is all about? Some individuals may even be feeling a deeper loneliness during the holiday season in marked contrast to the festivities shown in the media. And what of those who have barely enough food to eat, for whom even simple decorations are an unimaginable luxury?Are they excluded from the joy of the Christmas season? Perhaps what we are really longing for in our Christmas celebrations is to satisfy our innate spiritual desire for peace, joy, and goodwill among men. Underlying the natural desire to have the very best Christmas ever this year may be a longing for a more spiritual understanding of Christmas. We could begin by thinking of the celebration of Christ Jesus' birth as fundamentally an opportunity of cherishing Christ. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, "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. If we're longing for more joy or inspiration at the holiday time, a place to start finding them is certainly in the life and example of Jesus as described in the New Testament of the Bible. Jesus told his followers to follow him, to do as he did, through the power of God. He says in the Gospel of John, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Jesus didn't take personal credit for his marvelous accomplishments. The Bible is filled with examples of his healing works, but Jesus always gave the entire credit to God. He said of himself, as John records, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. It was Jesus' Christliness and his understanding that man is made in the image and likeness of God, spiritual and perfect, which e nabled him to heal. The Christ, the spiritual idea of God, remains present with us today, enabling us to emulate the works of Jesus. This healing Christ is present to inspire, uplift, and strengthen us. And of course, Christ is present not just at Christmastime; Christ is with each one of us throughout the year. Inspiration, joy, and goodwill toward men don't need to be limited to the holidays but can be experienced all year long as we cherish the Christ in our hearts and lives by following Jesus' example. This holiday season can be one that allows us to spend more time in quiet communion with God, cherishing the Christ-idea, and even healing as Jesus healed through the power of God. Such a celebration of Christ Jesus' birth and life is available to all. It requires no money or material goods, and it brings great joy. The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany records a question posed by Mrs. Eddy in a communion message to The Mother Church in 1898: "Beloved brethren, another Christmas has come and gone. Has it enabled us to know more of the healing Christ that saves from sickness and sin? After this year's celebration, wouldn't it be wonderful to answer a resounding "yes?