Gathering together

A Christian Science perspective: Finding peace and belonging during the holidays, wherever we are.

In the United States, this time of year is traditionally when families gather together to share their love for each other and express gratitude for all the good that has come their way over the course of the year. It’s also an opportunity to pray for those unable to gather with family or to feel a sense of peace and belonging.

During a time of war in a combat zone, I recall a particular Thanksgiving that was most meaningful to me. Far from home, separated by half a world and with no possibility of communicating with my family, I felt extremely isolated – that is, until I realized God had given me, through my study of Christian Science, a glimpse of what it truly means to be together. In praying to God, I came to realize that I needed to see God as my Father-Mother, and to see everyone around me not as strangers, but as brothers and sisters all having the same divine Parent. The more I understood the reality of God’s allness, the closer I felt to everyone, including my family.

I began to reach out to those around me with a genuine sense of brotherly love, and the more I did that, the more I felt my home and family weren’t half a world away, but right there with me. While I still missed being home with my immediate family, I had found a deeper joy by recognizing I could never be without the presence of our Father-Mother God. I knew I was feeling some measure of the inseparable oneness each of us has with our divine source, and with one another – regardless of the miles between us. It brought a deeper understanding to me of these words by Christian Science Founder Mary Baker Eddy: “Where God is we can meet, and where God is we can never part” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany,” p. 131).

Christian Science has made it wonderfully clear to me that one infinite God, good, is the Father and Mother of us all, and His love for all of us – His children – is permanent, unchanging, and ever present. As members of His family, we are all brothers and sisters; we are never separated from Him and never outside or beyond divine Love’s allness. Our home, wherever we are, is ever within the realm of infinite Love. As the Apostle Paul has said, “for in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

As the truth of our inseparability from God becomes more apparent to us – through our prayer and our receptivity to the Christ, God’s message of eternal love for all of us – we begin to see that loneliness and separation are not God’s plan for anyone. The same God who is the Father and Mother of everyone is truly All and everywhere-present. The prophet Isaiah states it so clearly: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (45:22).

As families gather this Thanksgiving season, let’s include everyone in our prayers, as our brothers and sisters, together in our Father’s house, inseparably linked by His ever-present love and abundant care.

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