Christmas wreaths and the encircling love of Christ
A Christian Science perspective: Inspired by the love expressed in her neighborhood, one writer cherishes the deeper message of Christmas.
I couldn’t help but notice a recent flurry of festivity across the street. The local Cub Scout troop had ordered fresh balsam wreaths for the holidays and my neighbor’s house was the pickup location. Cars lined up along the curb, and folks streamed up the driveway toward the stacks of wreaths. Moms and dads greeted each other with smiles, and their little ones – who cradled their prized wreaths – shouted "Merry Christmas!" to their friends
The gracious goodwill expressed in that scene touched my heart. It was a dark evening, but the lights along the street shone brightly. So many wreaths on doors all around! And most with spotlights, so that each red ribbon or little bell might sparkle throughout the night. I thought of all the loving hearts who hung those wreaths, and felt inspired to cherish a deep love for God and His Christ.
Christmas speaks to me of God’s infinite goodness, which, like the figure of a circle, has no beginning and no end. Its deep significance extends beyond any calendar date, because God’s healing grace and ever-present Christ are eternal. Jesus, God’s Son, embodied the Christ, and this season I feel fresh gratitude to Jesus for all he did on his God-appointed mission to illuminate the Christ, Truth, for all mankind. Both his virgin birth and his later resurrection from the grave presented unmistakable proof of infinite, eternal Life, which is God.
Jesus actually demonstrated the Science of being – that God, divine Spirit, is our one and only Father or origin, and that we are God’s offspring – His spiritual image and likeness, reflecting His divine substance and intelligence (see, for example, John 4:24 and Matthew 6:9). Thus there can be no separation at all between God and man, between the origin and its expression. Christian Science, which derives from the teachings of Jesus, has helped me to see that each of us reflects forever the eternal goodness and love of our Father-Mother God. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, writes: “God and man are not the same, but in the order of divine Science, God and man coexist and are eternal. God is the parent Mind, and man is God’s spiritual offspring” (“Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures,” p. 336).
The illumination of this Science in our consciousness can uplift and heal us today, just as it healed and saved those long ago who were receptive to Christ Jesus’ ministry. Jesus gave his followers a deep sense of the law of God – the absolute government of omnipotent Love, and of their oneness with God. This law, or truth, remains unchanged over the centuries and is not confined to a holiday season. We, too, can gain a truer sense of divine Love and of Love’s benevolent control of our lives. This understanding, which comes to our receptive hearts, awakens us to a purer sense of our divine origin. We see ourselves more clearly as Love’s own ideas, governed by His law of good, which displaces fear, pride, anger, and even physical suffering – leaving healing in its wake.
No matter the circumstances that face us, no matter how dark the night seems, we can know in prayer that God pierces the seeming darkness with the light of His presence. Jesus never let the dark pictures of suffering throngs close his eyes to God’s love and glory. And for us today, our eyes can’t be closed either. The eternal presence of God remains at hand to heal and bless. In Christ Jesus’ own words, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
I will continue to appreciate the signs in my own heart and in others’ of God’s ever-encircling goodness, expressed in compassion, joy, and goodwill. Though we may glimpse but faintly now the eternal Life that is God, the knowledge of our oneness with God, divine Love, can be felt and demonstrated, step by step, as we seek this all-encompassing grace and affirm God’s presence. This is the Christ at work. The eternal Truth, or Christ, has never left the earth, never abandoned anyone, but shines a healing light in human consciousness. Its healing power will forever bless the thoughts and prayers of humble hearts that make room for it.