I'm encouraged. This time of year is such a perfect occasion to keep in front of thought what Christmas truly is about. For starters, there's that scene of all scenes: the stable, the shepherds, the angel, Mary and Joseph, and most of all, the babe in the manger.
And you can't separate that scene from the world-altering impact Christ has. You just can't unlink it from the wonderful thing that has been ushered into our lives today.
Read through the Nativity story in the Gospel of Matthew, and you'll see a passage amplifying a central message of that scene, that day, that birth: "God with us." Doesn't this hint at the deeper meaning of Christmas? Isn't it even the basis for Christian healing? "Behold, a virgin ... shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."
When you're considering Christ Jesus, his birth, his ministry, or any part of his story, you can't get away from the healing message of "God with us." That was a fact Jesus obviously understood in the core of his being. He knew his Father, the Father of all of us, is ever with us. That's a fact that deepens and grows more vivid as we savor the Christmas story.
God with us. It's a fact that changes everything. Christ Jesus, through all he taught, said, and did let us know not just that God was with him but also that God is with us. That we don't have to travel a distance to reach Him. Not a distance through space, not a distance through time. Not even some great distance through a mysterious maze of knowledge.
Why? Because God, who is divine Life and divine Truth and divine Love, is here and not a long way off. He is now, not just a long time ago. And this God by His very nature makes Himself available, accessible to even the simplest of seekers. He is not into being unknowable. It is in God's nature to make Himself known. Isn't that a relief?
In the quest to know God, it's a relief to recall He's on our side. He's not hiding out from us. He's here, He's now, and He's disclosing His nature to us.
Part of the way we get to know Him is through recalling how His Son appeared 2,000 years ago. And part of the way we get to know Him is through experiencing Christian healing today.
Christian Science is making plain to hungry hearts that Christ healing is available today. It's a natural thing. It was natural for Jesus' followers to experience healing in his day. It's natural for us to experience the same kind of healing today.
Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy engaged in some unique exploration into both the appearing and the healing practice of Jesus. She discovered that there's a Science of the Christ. And she laid out her findings in the book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." A passage from the preface refers to the mighty healing works in the present day and in Jesus' day. It says, "Now, as then, these mighty works are not supernatural, but supremely natural. They are the sign of Immanuel, or 'God with us,' – a divine influence ever present in human consciousness and repeating itself, coming now as was promised aforetime,
To preach deliverance to the captives [of sense],
And recovering of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty them that are bruised."
There is a divine influence. It is always with us, not just during this season. It is forever present in human consciousness. And while we're cherishing the babe in the manger, it's worth remembering to cherish also the fully developed message of Immanuel, the message of God with us. That helps us know and experience Him more completely. It helps us experience Christian healing today.