What is it that you remember about last Christmas? The feeling that there just wasn't enough to go around -- enough time or money? You may have even heard (or made) a comment like this: "Don't even saym Christmas!"
Has Christmas taken on an air of dread? Has it lost its meaning?
A few years ago I felt this way -- and felt I definitely needed a better understanding of Christmas. I had been studying Christian Science for a year or so and had been impressed with a statement written by its Discoverer and Founder , Mary Baker Eddy: "Christmas to me is the reminder of God's great gift, -- His spiritual idea, man and the universe, -- a gift which so transcends mortal, material, sensual giving that the merriment, mad ambition, rivalry, and ritual of our common Christmas seem a human mockery in mimicry of the real worship in commemoration of Christ's coming." n1
n1 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,m p. 262.
This statement seemed in keeping with the angel song, "On earth peace, good will toward men," n2 that I had always treasured in the Bible.
n2 Luke 2:14.
I began to yearn for a more peaceful Christmas season. Our family of sisters , brothers, cousins, aunts, and uncles seemed to do too much at the holiday season -- too many parties, too much shopping, traveling, cooking, eating. There was almost no time left for being quiet and thoughtful.
At first I was tempted to simply exclude myself from these activities. But I realized that instead of just dreaming about a quieter, holier Christmas I could prayerfully put to use the better understanding of God that I had been gaining through Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy's statement "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need" n3 was encouraging to me.
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 494.
I had also been learning that God is divine Mind, and that this one and only Mind governs all harmoniously. To me, this meant that as we gathered to celebrate Christmas I could trust that everyone was in truth governed by God, by the one infinitely intelligent Mind. As the Bible says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." n4 I prayed to know that Christmas peace could not be obliterated by overactivity and that this fact could be evident in my experience.
n4 Proverbs 3:5.
Soon, one of my relatives recommended drawing names for gifts instead of everyone buying a present for everyone else. We did, and it was a much-welcomed idea. The next year, at the suggestion of another family member, we decided to limit the large gatherings to Christmas Day, instead of both Christmas Eve andm Christmas Day. This was accepted -- almost with applause -- by all the family members.
So, the shopping, large parties, and traveling were brought more under control. I didn't have to exclude myself from family get-togethers -- in fact, I didn't even have to say a word.
There may be some people who feel that their need at Christmas time -- or any other time -- is to enlarge their sense of giving and sharing, to be with others more, instead of less. The same trust in God's ability to meet every need can normalize that condition too, because God's goodness causes us to experience goodness. God's abundant love for all His children permits no lack of joy, peace, or friendship.
We don't have to dream of a quiet Christmas -- or a more convivial one. We can quit dreaming and start leaningm on the understanding of God's willingness to reveal to us His power and goodness in whatever way best meets our need. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing. Romans 15:13