Christmastime can be a time of joy, inspiration, and sharing. It can also be a time of stress, loneliness, and family tension. Hurry, hurry, hurry, buy, buy, buy, are often the main activities of December. I asked myself, "How can I handle this?"
My answer came from the Bible, which tells about Christ Jesus, who lived his life doing God's will. Jesus showed that we are God's children, and that we can find light in this fact. Christmas celebrates the message of healing and salvation Jesus brought mankind.
One time, Jesus was visiting two sisters, Mary and Martha. Mary was listening carefully to what he said, while Martha was busily working and worrying. The book of Luke says: "Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her" (10:40-42).
How was this Bible story relevant to me and my Christmas rush? I saw that Jesus was teaching people always to put God first, to listen, learn, and grow spiritually. He was teaching not to let mere busyness interfere with prayer and listening to God. Can those of us celebrating Christmas really have quietude just now, when the holiday season is really picking up, when there is so much clamoring and so many demands? Yes, we can trust that if we choose the "good part," it "shall not be taken away."
That's an important point: you cannot lose anything good; it cannot be taken away if you remain faithful to God and put knowing Him first in your life. As you put God first, the celebration of Christmas can proceed with peace and inspiration. The things you need to do can be done with patience, and you can even help others.
Having a merry Christmas-you might say a "Mary" one, like Mary in that Bible story-means having a Christmas filled with qualities such as Jesus brought to humanity: love, patience, forgiveness, joyful prayer, and spiritual growth. Having this kind of a Christmas means hearing God's messages during your day. These messages may tell of God's love for you, assure you that God gives only good to His children, and show you that you are spiritual because you were made in the likeness of God, who is Spirit. These are messages that heal. They will make Christmas, and any other season, merry.
The woman who discovered Christian Science in 1866, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote of her love for Christmas when she said this: "I love to observe Christmas in quietude, humility, benevolence, charity, letting good will towards man, eloquent silence, prayer, and praise express my conception of Truth's appearing" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 262).
Here again, Christmas is seen to be the presence of, the expression of, good qualities. I asked myself how I could express those qualities, including quietude, when I was expected to undertake so many activities in December. One activity was attending an office party that would be crowded and noisy. I grew resentful about having to go in order to support a family member. Then I turned to God.
The answer came that I needed to love more, that I could see the quietude and humility I cherished in my thoughts expressed in each individual at the party because each was God's child. Christian Science had taught me this fact and shown me how to pray in this way. After this time of prayer, it no longer mattered that the party was noisy and crowded, because I was filled with love. The resentment was gone.
That's just one example of how listening to the messages of Jesus, as Mary did, we too can feel and express quietude, humility, patience, and love. It's in doing so that the Christ will remain in celebrations of Christmas.
Grace be with you,
mercy, and peace,
from God the Father,
and from the
Lord Jesus Christ.
II John 1:3