Around Christmastime, it's not unusual to read a greeting card that says something like "May the spirit of Christmas be with you throughout the year." After the holiday, this "Christmas spirit" usually fades somewhat. But one day in the month of August I was healed by a Christmas message.
I was well prepared for the radio interview I was scheduled to participate in that August day. The only problem was that I felt terribly ill. I am a Christian Scientist, and my first inclination was to pray for myself. This prayer involved my recognition of the fact that we are, myself included, made by God. Because He made us spiritual, perfect, we cannot be sick. I knew that since I am in truth God's daughter, I couldn't be made to suffer. I felt somewhat better, but not totally well.
By the time of the interview, I had had a setback and felt very ill indeed. To get where I needed to be, I had to climb a very long flight of stairs. Normally, they aren't a problem, but this time I felt totally unable to climb them.
Then, almost as though I could hear the music playing somewhere, I recalled some much-loved lines from Handel's Messiah. They are in the section where the singers are praising the Messiah, or Christ, and sing words from the book of Isaiah: "And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (9:6).
I can't explain exactly what happened, but I was suddenly overwhelmed with a conviction that God was good and that He was present with me. While my body still felt ill, my thoughts were honestly full of joy and strength. And I climbed the stairs, declaring with each step those names of Christ given by the prophet Isaiah, affirming that here was the only power I could feel and know, the only power there was anywhere. God's power.
By the time I got to the top of the stairs, instead of being worn out, I felt much stronger. I was able to conduct the interview successfully. Very shortly I was totally well.
What healed me was more than just a particular song that gave me "happy thoughts." I was experiencing the healing power of the Christ-the same healing power of God that Christ Jesus devoted his life to presenting to humanity. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, studied the life of Jesus and found that it revealed laws of healing. Her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures tells very clearly how we can learn of God and find healing. In one place she wrote, "Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness" (p. 332).
My recognition of the fact that the Christ, with truly wonderful qualities, was present that day literally lifted my thoughts to a more spiritual plane. The spiritual perfection I had been claiming for myself earlier in the day became so real to me that it healed me.
One of the beauties of this experience is that the Christ, whether at Christmas or in any month, isn't limited to me or to a handful of people. You can know the Christ for yourself. The first step is to recognize that you do have a unity with God-that you are, in fact, of His creating. Even though you may appear to be a material being with flaws and fears, the reality for all time is that you are made to express good in the form of health, love, wisdom, peace, purity, and joy, and other good qualities.
The "true idea voicing good" enables us to know the nature of ourselves and others as God's children. It opens our eyes to the reality of heaven within us, which Jesus spoke of so vividly. It tells us that perfection is ours today.
Prayer may well involve "sticking with it," as I did during that August day. But this effort isn't just willing ourselves well, no matter how we feel. It's an effort truly to feel and know God's presence, and to express His nature as fully as we can, wherever we are. The result of this effort is not just physical healing, wonderful as that is. It's also a growing confidence that the power of good is present at all times and in all places. And that is wonderful indeed!
*Articles and features on Christian Science appear in a monthly magazine, The Christian Science Journal.