The best gift

THERE is a gift we can give at any time. It is not at all seasonal, nor does it involve us in a desperate search for just the right thing. Moreover it brings true joy. This precious gift is our expression of love for our fellow be ings--not a mere sugary, sentimental show of affection, but deep, sincere, genuine love. Does this seem challenging when we may not feel willing or able to love? Maybe we need to evaluate ourselves and our gift a little more. We could start by acknowledging our true identity, and everyone's, as beloved offspring of an infinite Father-Mother God, who is Himself omnipresent divine Love. The deepest purpose of us all is to express the nature of our creator, and what better way to do this than to love one another. Because our Father's love for His creation is eternal, infinite, the source of genuine love must be endless, and our opportunities to love infinite.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``Happiness consists in being and in doing good; only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness: conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can.'' 1

Christ Jesus, the Way-shower, clearly knew his worth as the Son of God. Nevertheless, he humbly said to his disciples, ``I am among you as he that serveth,'' 2 and he proved this by giving of himself without stint, even to surrendering a human sense of life to bless mankind. In our own sphere we can follow the Christ-example by being willing to express unselfish love toward our neighbor. Everyone needs affection, and the gift of real love, of love that reflects something of divine Love, is beyond value.

This kind of giving will never deplete us. On the contrary, we will be enriched. Nor does it in any sense make us a doormat. Rather it uplifts and inspires, and we get a true sense of our worth to our creator. By the same token such gift- giving strengthens our love for our fellow beings when we begin to perceive them as they are known of God.

Jesus instructed his disciples: ``Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.'' 3 Surely he did not mean just the giving of things, for he also commanded his followers to love one another.

In our endeavor to reflect true love we are virtually praying, ``Father, use me to express You,'' and we can be sure that if our prayer is sincere, the way will be shown for us to love and be loved. Needs start to be cared for and channels for service open up. Provision comes in ways we can see and appreciate, and joy becomes more apparent.

Recently I found myself at a crossroads: a commercial career had ended and the need to earn a living was pressing. I turned to my Father-Mother God in prayer for His direction, grateful to know that His eternal plan for me was perfect and could only result in blessing. I knew He would direct me, and I found that when I was able honestly to say that my prayer was to give instead of just to get, I knew what to do. I was led to enter a field entirely new to me, where the giving of love and service had first priority. This brought, and continues to bring, deep satisfaction as well as a real sense of conscious worth.

By giving in this way, we find the result to be blessing for all concerned, and surely this is the best gift of all.

1 Message to The Mother Church for 1902, p. 17. 2 Luke 22:27. 3 Luke 6:38. DAILY BIBLE VERSE If ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same . . . But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest. Luke 6:32, 33, 35

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