As meaningful and happy as Christmas festivities can be, many see in Christmas a significance that goes even deeper. Some people feel inspired to give to others in different ways. Some find it a time to renew their love and appreciation for family. Christians celebrate the birth of Christ Jesus. They feel anew the promise Jesus’ birth conveyed for all mankind that night: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).
Commenting on Christmas, Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, wrote: “This interesting day, crowned with the history of Truth’s idea, – its earthly advent and nativity, – is especially dear to the heart of Christian Scientists; to whom Christ’s appearing in a fuller sense is so precious, and fraught with divine benedictions for mankind” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 320).
At the birth of Jesus, a few individuals glimpsed something of its profound significance. But there was little evidence even then of the fuller meaning of the Master’s appearing. The significance of what Christ meant for the world became increasingly clear as people saw and felt the magnitude of Jesus’ life, especially his countless healing works. His healings flew in the face of material beliefs about life and offered persuasive evidence of what Jesus taught – that God, Spirit, and not the flesh, is the creator of man and governs man harmoniously.
Jesus’ life also brought the message of God’s unbounded love for each of us; that each one of us is His child, the spiritual expression of His being, and that God’s love is here to wake us up to our real selfhood in God and the healing such a recognition brings. Jesus acknowledged God tenderly as his own Father, and said God was our Father as well (see Matthew 6:9).
Like many others, for me the promise seen in Jesus’ birth reverberates and expands with every step of spiritual regeneration and healing that I have experienced. The spiritualization of our thoughts and lives through the transforming influence of the Christ – the ever-present Truth that Jesus expressed and which speaks to us even today – lifts our thoughts above the belief that matter is the reason we exist. It shows us more of our true life in Spirit and the harmony and wholeness of our real individuality as God’s likeness (see Genesis 1:26, 27). The result of this is that fears and material misconceptions begin to give way to a higher understanding of life, and the effect is healing.
Mrs. Eddy writes, “In Christian Science, Christmas stands for the real, the absolute and eternal, – for the things of Spirit, not of matter” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 260). At Christmas we can quietly celebrate, in prayer and gratitude, not only the birth of Jesus, but also the ongoing new birth that’s found in Christ, Truth – the growing understanding of “the real, the absolute and eternal.” Praying sincerely for more of this loving light is how we discover the spiritual, healing vitality of Christmas.