RUSHING around the shops, choosing presents, spending long hours writing cards, preparing food. These are some of the activities often associated with preparation for the Christmas season. And people complain how the message of the season is lost in tinsel, parties, decorations, and so forth. Why do we celebrate Christmas? What are we celebrating?
Christ is the spiritual idea of God that brings salvation from sin, disease, and death. The birth of Jesus brought the Christ to human understanding. Mary, at the conception of Jesus, was pure; she listened to the angelic message of the coming of God's spiritual idea and accepted it. In the Gospel of Luke the moment is described thus: ``And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS'' (1:30, 31).
Can't we in the busyness of Christmas preparations stop, and listen to the angelic message that will guide us into the peace, calm, and tranquillity of the Christ that so often appear to be absent at this time? Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``The new idea, conceived and born of Truth and Love, is clad in white garments. Its beginning will be meek, its growth sturdy, and its maturity undecaying'' (p. 463).
If we look at Christmas as an awakening of thought--an awakening to the Christ idea--then this shows us how to love our fellowman, to have patience, and to want to share joyous goodness with all. One year when I found myself drawn into the Christmas rush, I stopped for a moment. This gave me the opportunity to think of what Christmas meant to me. I discovered the importance of the qualities associated with Christmas, such as warmth, love, sharing, unselfishness, patience, and joy. And I found I had more of the Christmas spirit when I cherished these God-derived qualities. That was Christ guiding me to a higher plane of thought. Christmas is a celebration of Christ. When I held in thought Christlike qualities as I went about my tasks, I saw them reflected around me. Shopping in a busy city center was a joyful experience. I noticed the melody of carol singers, the joy reflected in the faces of children, and the love shown between family members.
We don't have to limit that celebration of the Christ dawning in consciousness to one day or one season during the year. We can always be willing to listen to and cherish Christlike qualities and to see them manifested in our daily lives. As Mrs. Eddy states in Science and Health, ``Christ illustrates that blending with God, his divine Principle, which gives man dominion over all the earth'' (p. 316). Hence we can have dominion over thoughts that say we are rushed, have no time, are limited in what we can do. When we replace such concepts with the realization that Christ is always guiding us, showing the Way, we can leave off the material, limited sense of life and recognize the truth that we are God's beloved children.
Letting Christ lead us to a greater understanding of God is not a selfish act. As we behold the Christliness in each of us, we see healing. Let us celebrate Christmas today!