AT Christmastime people appear to be more conscious of family love, of goodwill among friends and associates, and of the better world that ought to be. Special feelings come with traditional holiday gatherings. Sometimes just hearing Christmas music or feeling the festive mood at shopping malls is enough to give people ``the Christmas spirit."
Other people may find the holiday season more difficult than any other time of the year, the very opposite of what it should be. Festive merrymaking seems to mock their need for healing or for home or companionship. It would take something truly special to make them feel the Christmas spirit. And that special something is within reach. The presence of God to help each of His beloved offspring could never be absent. And it appears within us. Christ, God's eternal truth, is the very spirit of Christmas.
Jesus identified himself with Christ when he answered a question about his mission in this way: ``Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them."
With such events, the coming of Christ Jesus was cause for celebration. And Christ's eternal presence is still cause for celebration. It is possible now to have the real experience of Christmas, the experience of Christ-healing. Christ, God's healing and saving power, heals the heaviest of human problems.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes of Christmas in her book The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany. She says: ``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."
Christ, God's eternal Truth, brings us the healing power of God right now and here. The coming of Christ to each of us could be described as our own awareness that we are offspring of God, dwelling in His presence.
One year just before Christmas, our young daughter was ill. Our holiday preparations seemed strangely out of step with her need for healing. Healing was an integral part of Christ Jesus' teachings, and my husband and I relied on Christ-healing in this case, as we have for healing on so many other occasions. We were praying. And we had also asked a Christian Science practitioner--an individual who devotes full time to praying for others--to pray for the child. Our prayers were deeply rooted in a convictio n that the spiritual truth of God and man is what Jesus taught and proved. We knew that God is the true Parent and caretaker of our daughter, and we acknowledged her spiritual perfection as His child. Because God never made disease, it has no power or reality. Within a few days our daughter was completely, joyously well.
Instead of a difficult holiday time, we actually experienced the very reason for observing Christmas. The experience of God's healing power is so special that it is greater than mere human joy. The arrival of each year's celebration of Christmas provides a special opportunity for the world to recognize more fully the power of Christ. And we can enjoy family gatherings at Christmastime, as well as heartfelt gift giving, without ceasing to honor the Christ by which we are helped and are able to help others .