It always seems too short a time until Christmas. So much to do! One year, driving to the post office to mail last-minute gifts, I heard a meteorologist's report that our area was "under the influence of intense pressure."
He was referring to the atmospheric pressure, but I laughed because during the holiday season many people feel under varying degrees of pressure. I didn't want to have another one of those "I can hardly wait for the holidays - to be over" Christmases.
But I realized I didn't have to accept "intense pressure" as the way things are in the universe - God's universe. Instead I knew that God was keeping me under His "divine influence," a phrase mentioned in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy. That meant to me that we are under God's care, under the influence of divine wisdom and intelligence, under the guidance of divine Principle, which brings divine order into our lives.
Establishing our oneness with God first thing in the morning and then reaffirming it throughout the day brings a spiritual stillness to our lives. I sometimes think of these prayerful, reflective times as "moments of grace."
In proportion as we entertain moments of grace, will we feel the peace of God. We may realize more of what is meant by "on earth peace, good will toward men." Isn't that a Christmas spirit we all would welcome?
Listening for God's direction can reveal easier and simpler ways of doing things. Keeping God central in thought can bring such quietness that any sense of burden falls away.
Led by God to drop extraneous busyness, we can't be left with a void. Instead, simplifying our lives leaves everyone relieved. It will bless all by leaving more space in our lives for the genuine activity of Christ. People will thank us for expressing the courage to "put first things first." It will add to the peace of the season.
Never fear. Divine Love is unifying members of families, communities, and nations. Everyone has a part to play in this coming together, of course, but it is Love's nature to unify.
As I acknowledge both the heavenly order already established in God's kingdom and the fact that I "live, and move, and have [my] being" in Him, as the Bible tells us (see Acts 17:28), I can feel the divine order expressed to a greater degree.
Taking time for more moments of grace allows harmony to supplant any lingering feeling of burden. We'll begin to feel God's presence with us, right where we are.
Taking a moment of grace one holiday season, I remembered these words from Hymn No. 49 from the "Christian Science Hymnal":
Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from us now the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
I have continued to let these words be my guide. We all want to feel peace. Being at peace is being at one with God, and consequently living a grace-filled, pressure-free life as God's expression.
On that particular holiday, we were enriched by having not only our own family with us but also some international students from a nearby college. Our understanding of the peace of God-with-us allowed us to include a larger number of people in our home without adding any burden.
Each of us can recognize that we are not in, or under, an atmosphere of pressure. We are solely under the divine influence. This understanding brings peace and divine order.
Acquaint now thyself
with him, and be at peace: thereby good
shall come unto thee.