Not long before Christmas a few years ago, I learned more of what the holiday signifies. I was feeling kind of desperate. I had had a lot of expenses with my car. And when my finances were at their lowest ebb, something else went wrong with it. The car was drivable, but local laws required that this newest problem be fixed.
A friend and I tried to fix it ourselves. But we couldn't unscrew a certain part, because we weren't strong enough. Feeling very distraught about the car, the money, and everything, I turned to God in prayer. I did this because over many years I have seen how God's guidance leads me to needed solutions. I knew that God, who is omnipotent, is also the source of all strength. It seemed to me that if I just prayed to Him, I'd be able to disengage that part.
Well, that wasn't how it happened. Instead, the more I prayed, the more I felt compelled to take the car to a local repair station. I resisted, feeling I didn't have enough money to pay someone. Finally, the continuing frustration, along with a powerful feeling that this guidance was from God, led me to gather all the money I had, borrow some more, and go to the station, hoping for the best.
They were very busy, but the man in charge courteously said he would see what they could do. I waited patiently, continuing to pray and feeling a lot more peaceful. Suddenly he came to my car and said, "Let's see if we can take care of that now." It took only minutes for him to make the repair. When I asked him how much I should pay, he gave me a very kind smile and said, "You don't need to pay me anything."
I was really grateful. And as I drove home, I recalled this statement from the book of Isaiah in the Bible, which describes the nature of the Christ: "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound . . . to comfort all that mourn" (61:1, 2).
Suddenly the real meaning of the Christmas season came very alive to me. I felt that the man at the repair shop had expressed what Isaiah speaks of, by helping me in a time of need. The experience had done even more than solve my immediate problem. The joy and helpfulness he had shown enabled me to break through my fears and worry about lacking money, as well as about other problems I was facing. From that moment I felt renewed confidence in God's care and a certainty that I would have what I needed-which I did.
From this experience I realized that no matter where I went I could never be separated from the love of Christ, which is the true understanding of God. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, wrote Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. It says on page 361, "Christ, as the true spiritual idea, is the ideal of God now and forever, here and everywhere."
The key to making this healing influence of prayer a regular part of our lives, instead of just something nice that we recall at Christmas, is to understand and accept God's undiluted goodness. The life of Jesus illustrated God's unending love for man. Jesus turned to God no matter what the need was. And as a result of understanding God, he healed people, provided for them, calmed stormy seas, helped individuals overcome moral problems. For Jesus, God was an all-loving Father. And Jesus wanted his followers-including people now-to know that they are also God's offspring.
The basis for Jesus' healing was the fact that we are spiritual in nature. He showed that wisdom, strength, integrity, abundance, and freedom are spiritual qualities, and that we each have full access to these qualities because we are inseparable from our divine Parent. When we understand this, all of us can more clearly know and express "the spirit of the Lord God," and can do our part in comforting, guiding, and healing.
Whether it is Christmastime, or some other season of the year, we can bring joy and peace to others by holding in our thoughts the joyful Christmas message that God assures us love and healing.
You can find other articles that discuss prayer in a weekly magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel.