December joys

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

December is one of those months that fills up quickly. Almost everyone seems to have extra things to accomplish with the year ending, holiday obligations mounting, and stretched budgets – as well as very welcome festivities – all causing the to-do list to increase. By the beginning of January, people are often longing for rest.

But the calendar doesn't have to change before this yearning is satisfied. It's possible to be very busy and yet feel peaceful and rested. It's a matter of thought.

Pause for this refreshing thought: "tireless Being." It's a name that Mary Baker Eddy, who established this newspaper and founded Christian Science, used to describe God in a sermon she gave, called "Christian Healing." This tireless Being is the divine Being that is the source of all activity, energy, and provision. Christ Jesus drew on this spiritual source while he carried out his mission, and so can we in our daily lives. Expressing God's love and promised salvation, which rescues humanity for all time from helplessness, burden, and fatigue, he said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." And he concluded, "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:28, 30).

It's very probable that Jesus had a different definition of activity from what is generally held. Maybe doing was for him not so much about exertion as it was a keen awareness of the might, power, and ability of the Divine, with whom he was well acquainted. Maybe accomplishment was more a matter of yielding to God's direction, control, and heavenly impetus, rather than personal productivity and the push that's often associated with it. Through more selfless prayer, it's possible to attain a more spiritual sense that God is the animator, the doer, and that His creation reflects this ability. This can make what may be considered too hard, taxing, or tiring work something quite different.

For example, Jesus healed several times on the Sabbath Day. This was disconcerting to the Pharisees because in doing so, he was breaking their perception of the Fourth Commandment, which prohibited working on the Sabbath Day. To them, healing was labor.

But perhaps Jesus didn't consider healing to be work at all. It seems that freeing people from sickness and erasing sin came as naturally to him as breathing or smiling or simply looking on another as whole, well, and good; as God's spiritual child.

To emulate this spiritual ease, it's possible for us to look in a more Christly way at to-do lists. Mrs. Eddy discussed exchanging things for thoughts in her textbook on Christian Science. She wrote, "Divine Science, rising above physical theories, excludes matter, resolves things into thoughts, and replaces the objects of material sense with spiritual ideas" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 123).

This is practical. For instance, instead of feeling burdened about taking packages to the post office and possibly waiting in a long line, you could keep in thought the joy of sending a token of love to another. And the line? It can provide opportunities to show affection and kindness to others and ease another's task. And instead of dreading the office party, you could view it as a way to take time to express support and to acknowledge others' work over the past year. Also, instead of being fearful that gifts will be too expensive, you can open thought to creative ways that are also financially wise to show thoughtfulness to others.

These spiritual attitudes refresh. Yielding to the spiritual idea behind a thing lightens the sense of personal effort. In this way, you don't take on the weight of having to make something happen, because the actual action is in and of God, the only real doer.

In her sermon, Mrs. Eddy stated that the tireless Being that is God affords man, meaning men and women, "fresh opportunities every hour…." ("Christian Healing," p. 19). December provides a perfect occasion for finding these fresh opportunities and seeing everything in the Christ light, in which all are unburdened and blessed.

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