AT Christmastime we often are quite busy with many worthwhile activities, and we do a lot of planning to ensure their success. For instance, we may plan how to spend our time so everything gets done: the shopping, cleaning, decorating, baking, visiting friends and family. Or we may plan how to spend our money so that there is enough for food, for gifts, for decorations, for regular bills. As we do this, we may say, in effect: ``I have this much time (or money). How can I divide it so there will be enough for everything?''
When we look at what's available in this way, it's usually because we're thinking that we begin with a limited amount. Unfortunately, such dividing up of our spending often finishes with nothing, or very little, left over--or even with a deficit if we run out of time, for example, and some things don't get done!
But such division isn't the only way to deal with the situation. And it's certainly not the best way. When God created man, he commanded him to multiply, not divide. The Bible says, in Genesis: ``And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply . . .'' (1:26-28).
Referring to these verses in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the Dis- coverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, explains, ``Divine Love blesses its own ideas, and causes them to multiply,--to manifest His power'' (p. 517). To multiply, then, means to manifest God's power, to prove God's supremacy.
When we multiply in God's way, we don't begin with something finite, which we then cut up into smaller and smaller pieces until it disappears. We begin with the manifestation of God's power, which is infinite. This promise of multiplication applies to much more than fulfilling our obligations at Christmastime! It includes the infinite nature of health, energy, intelligence, love, joy, creativity, compassion, patience, and so on. Because these qualities have their source in God, good, they possess a source that never runs out.
Christmas is a time when we can begin, not merely with what we have humanly, but with a recognition that what we have represents an aspect of the infinite nature of God.
Perhaps you can recall an instance when you've had one good idea; and as you pondered it, it grew and your thought was flooded with a stream of ideas. When this happens to me, I'm reminded of the shepherds' experience outside Bethlehem as recounted in Luke.
Resting with their flocks on a typical night in the countryside, they were suddenly and unexplainably surrounded by a bright light. They became afraid.
Then, one, just one, angelic thought came to calm them: ``Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people'' (2:10). That single angel told the shepherds of the infant Jesus, the signs that would prove him to be the Saviour, and where to find him.
The Bible continues: ``And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men'' (2:13, 14).
When I read this, it appears to me that as the shepherds accepted the impact of the angel's message heralding Christ Jesus' birth, their thought was filled with gratitude. And it seems to me that this gratitude was so great that it must have filled the sky with praise to God.
Have you ever felt this way? An inspiration (or even an ordinary good idea) can be so exciting that your heart and your thinking burst with joy and gratitude? I know it's happened to me. This is how multiplication--the manifestation of God's power --operates.
A friend of mine was going through some deep waters in understanding herself and her career. She didn't want to talk about it with others, but she found God's love expressed to her in unexpected ways. Later, she wrote, ``The multiplication of good in my experience was perhaps most marked by the outpouring of love from those who knew I was going through some hard times. I began to recognize God's angel messages of love in many different forms, and once I began to see them, I saw them everywhere!''
Whether the demands upon us are seasonal, such as at Christmastime, or occur at other times of the year, they are never greater than our ability to understand God's infinite goodness. Our acceptance of the power and presence of God in our life, and our gratitude for Him and his abundant goodness, will multiply the evidence of good in our experience, without limit.
God is able to make all grace
abound toward you;
always having all sufficiency
in all things,
may abound to every good work: . . .
Being enriched in every thing
to all bountifulness,
which causeth through us
thanksgiving to God.
For the administration of this service
not only supplieth
the want of the saints,
but is abundant also
by many thanksgivings unto God.
II Corinthians 9:8, 11, 12