CHRISTMAS is often portrayed as a kind of fairy-tale time in which some sort of miracle happens: a special present or a holiday gathering fills everyone with peace, joy, and love. But a beautifully wrapped gift or an abundant Christmas dinner doesn't really fulfill the Christmas promise. The heart's hope for Christmas is, deep down, a yearning for the things of the spirit, for the things that come to us from God.
Answering the heart's yearnings for good requires a different look at what Christmas is all about. The birth of Jesus was God's fulfilling of His promise of salvation. Throughout Old Testament times a Messiah was prophesied, one who would come forth to bring deliverance and universal peace to mankind, a Saviour whose kingdom of light and love and goodwill would have no end. The angels, joyously announcing the baby Jesus' birth, identified him as this Saviour, singing ``Glory to God in the highest, and on
earth peace, good will toward men."
And what was the Saviour to do? Just what the promise said, bring peace and goodwill to earth by teaching us that man is spiritual, inseparable from his creator, God. Jesus' mission was to show that man is God's beloved son, created in His image. His wonderful healing works gave proof of these teachings, showing the effect on people's lives of a knowledge of God.
Although Jesus is no longer with us, God's love for us continues. This eternal presence of Christ is active in our hearts and minds, showing us in practical ways how God's power heals and saves. A healing I had helped me to see God's love in a very real way. Much of my body had become inflamed and irritated. I had found healing many times before by praying to God, so it was natural for me now to turn to the truths I had learned in my study of the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. I asked a friend to pray for me, as well, and my own prayers were almost constant.
The irritation and discomfort began to subside immediately. I was calmer and could even sleep at night, especially as I became increasingly grateful for all the blessings from God--not just to me but to all. Among other things, I was grateful for Christ Jesus and every one of his followers through the ages. And I treasured the eternal, ever-present Christ, which Mrs. Eddy describes in a poem as ``dear Christ, forever here and near . . . ."
I also spent much time praying to understand more of God as Love, who loves us so perfectly, so completely, that He provides for our salvation. It had to be true that such a God would not at the same time send evil or allow us to be trapped in any sort of evil. This bodily disorder could not be a part of God's will for me. If it wasn't of God, it had to be unreal, despite all of the physical evidence to the contrary.
Early one morning, the symptoms reached a crisis point. In fear and great distress, I again telephoned my friend for help. Her immediate, prayerful response enabled me to see, with absolute clarity and conviction, the unreality of the bodily disorder. I ac-tually felt the certainty of my own perfection and safety in God's care as His beloved child. I knew I was healed, and that proved to be the case. What brought about this healing? It was the Christ, Truth, coming to my thought and sweeping away what wa s ungodlike. This resulted in bodily healing. The healing seemed to come in an instant, yet the many hours and days of prayer prepared me to receive and accept Christ's healing power.
Like all of those present at the first Christmas, we can be filled with joy. The Christ, our Saviour, is here! This ever-present Christ is leading us (and all mankind) to Truth, which richly blesses us with salvation and healing.