Spiritual simplicity for the holidays

A Christian Science perspective: Some thoughts on preparing your home and your heart for this festive season.

You may have heard of the KISS principle. It stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” A gentler variation is “Keep It Simple and Straightforward.” When thinking about the upcoming holiday season, I like to take it one step further: “Keep It Simple and Spiritual.”

“Simple” means capturing the true essence of something. Natural, authentic, unpretentious. Without stress or strain. “Spiritual” means the opposite of material. It refers to the things of Spirit, God.

I like to think back to the first Christmas (see Luke 1:26-38; 2:1-20) and how simple it was in its spiritual meaning. God illuminated Mary’s pure thought with the spiritual idea of life, which was born to human perception as Jesus. Mary wrapped her precious newborn in a blanket and laid him in a manger. A messenger angel from God proclaimed the good news that Christ Jesus, representing God’s expression of the divine in our lives, would be a Savior to all people. A chorus of angels chimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

This spiritual ideal of life, embodied by Christ Jesus, is the Savior. It is the simple but profound message that God is infinite Spirit, and each one of us is the reflection of eternal Spirit, the infinite consciousness of good. We are the expression of divine qualities and talents, divine inspiration and creativity. This message, cherished in thought, saves anyone and everyone from all forms of suffering or limitation.

I love to rest my thought on the simplicity of this angel message as I prepare my home and my heart for the festive season.

I’ve found that preparing a simple meal with love can be more satisfying than pressuring myself to produce an elaborate spread. One time when I invited some people over for dinner, I unexpectedly spent the whole day working on a writing project with an out-of-town visitor. I didn’t have time even to buy groceries until 5:00 p.m., and the guests were expected just one hour later. My only tablecloth was creased because I hadn’t had time to press it. As I went out to buy groceries at 5:00, I decided that serenity and love would grace this gathering, rather than hurry or self-concern. I brought home some simple items, and welcomed the guests warmly as they arrived. Dinner was prepared while the guests chatted and eagerly helped out. The tablecloth that had seemed so creased suddenly looked fine on the table. That evening turned out to be the most beautiful and loving gathering with stimulating conversation, as everyone felt relaxed and ready to share.

Simplicity in gift-giving can also be a source of joy. I like to think in terms of giving spiritual gifts to friends and family, such as patience, gratitude, support, and unconditional love. One of the nicest gifts one can give is to really listen to others with genuine interest, and to accept other people’s expressions of love graciously. These are the kinds of gifts that are always just right and keep giving throughout the year.

As I’ve cherished this idea of spiritual simplicity, I’ve found that constructive ideas come to me that help me accomplish everything that needs to be done. Instead of heeding limiting thoughts such as “I have too much to do,” I try to quiet my thought and listen for the helpful ideas that always come to us from God, divine Mind, as in this biblical promise: “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalms 119:130). This promise is fulfilled for everyone, every day, as the divine light and inspiration shine forth to all.

And the holidays wouldn’t feel complete without mentally wrapping all humanity in warm prayers affirming divine Love’s tender care for every individual worldwide.

Mary Baker Eddy, who founded The Christian Science Monitor, wrote: “ ‘Love one another’ (I John, iii. 23), is the most simple and profound counsel of the inspired writer” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 572). This is the pure essence of the Christmas message. Each expression of patience, genuine listening, appreciation, and support proves the power of love to unite, uplift, and heal. Simple ideas, ready to be lived.

This year, I plan to make “peace and good will” the main dish on the Yuletide table. Such a simple, universal message for a festive day and every day. Simple hospitality, simple spiritual presents, and the simple but powerful idea of God’s uniting love. Simply wonderful. Simply divine.

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