During the Christmas season, my children love to open an Advent calendar. Each day they open a little treasure and get to count down the days until Christmas.
As they were opening it one day, I started to think about what daily treasures I would like to open. Rather than focus on what I can get for Christmas, I wanted to focus on what more of God’s goodness I can express. In my ideal Advent calendar I would like to open nuggets of Christ’s Truth, revealing more about God’s everlasting love and my infinite relationship to God.
Last year, this inspired me to create my own Advent calendar. Each day leading up to Christmas, I was going to focus on a different quality of the Christ that I wanted to express more of and see manifested in my life. My study of Christian Science has given me an understanding of Christ as not just a name for Jesus, but as the full expression of “God’s spiritual, eternal nature,” as explained by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 333).
My list of qualities covered many different aspects of life, ranging from time management, wisdom, perfection, patience, expectation of good, energy, and abundance to peace, love, and joy. For each quality I found a verse from a hymn or passage from the Bible or Science and Health.
For joy, I chose Hymn No. 58 by Elizabeth C. Adams from the “Christian Science Hymnal.” It reads:
In Thy house securely dwelling,
Where Thy children live to bless,
Seeing only Thy creation,
We can share Thy happiness,
Share Thy joy and spend it freely.
The hymn says that each one of us dwelling in God’s kingdom is here to bless God and share divine joy and abundance. I started to think about all the things I was joyful for: that God is infinite Life, Truth, and Love; that I am God’s expression of health and harmony; that God’s abundance is available to each one of His sons and daughters. The more I looked around, the more there was to be joyful for.
A little while after working on my Advent calendar of Christ’s qualities, I found myself at a superstore, shopping for groceries and Christmas presents. The place was very busy. As I pushed my cart around, I calmly focused on all the good that was going on. I was grateful for the harmony and order on the shelves, and for the kindness and generosity I saw in the gift purchasing.
At one point, I came to a very congested aisle, and people were getting frustrated and pushy. I calmly pulled my cart to the side to wait until the congestion cleared. I spent that time thanking God for this opportunity to see His peace and order in everyone around me. One of the gentlemen in the aisle looked at me and said, “You are so calm amid all this chaos.” I smiled and told him that this day is full of God’s goodness.
In a Christmas message written by Mrs. Eddy, she said, “At this immortal hour, all human hate, pride, greed, lust should bow and declare Christ’s power, and the reign of Truth and Life divine should make man’s being pure and blest” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 257).
I felt something of this power in the aisle of that store. Greed and human sense yielded to the love of the Christ. When I stayed focused on expressing God’s joy, the disorder and chaos couldn’t affect me; then the crowd cleared and I went on with my day.
Throughout this Christmas season, each day I will take a quality of the Christ and express it freely; it can only bless.