A year-round prayer and promise

A Christian Science perspective: The promise of Christ isn’t just for Christmastime.

A loved Christmas carol reminds me of one of my favorite messages – the message of God’s tender love for us all, which is not just for Christmas, but brings healing and inspiration year-round.

The carol starts out by mentioning the stillness of the “little town of Bethlehem,” and there’s a quiet awe that comes through. One version of this carol ends: “Where meekness will receive him, still / The dear Christ enters in” (Phillips Brooks, “Christian Science Hymnal,” No. 222).

To me, this is both a prayer and a promise. When we’re meek and receptive, we can feel that message of the Christ showing us God’s tender love, which Christ Jesus so fully expressed. It comes to our thought and uplifts us. And this isn’t just true for a few; all have the opportunity to avail themselves of this great gift of the Christ.

How do we “unwrap” this gift through meekness? A starting point is understanding what it really means to be meek. A few definitions of meek are humbly patient; not inclined to anger or resentment; yielding. Endeavoring to express the quality of meekness requires a willingness to put off a stubborn, hardheaded perspective and instead open our thought to God’s infinite wisdom.

The virtues of meekness are lauded and woven throughout the Scriptures, in both the Old and New Testaments. We may tend to associate meekness with weakness, but the Bible and the teachings of Christian Science show us differently.

As a babe, Christ Jesus was cradled in the humble circumstances of a manger, but he would be the greatest example of true manhood that humanity has ever seen. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and founded this news publication, described Jesus as meek numerous times, but she saw his meekness being coupled with might; for instance, she wrote that “the great Nazarene” was “as meek as he was mighty” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 597). And Jesus highlighted the significance of meekness in his Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5), a promise similar to one the Psalmist had voiced (see Psalms 37:11).

While at times it may seem like a stretch for us to be meek, we all have the inherent ability to express this quality. Spirit, God, made each of us in His image (see Genesis 1:26, 27), so our true identity is the actual spiritual expression of the loving God. And it’s natural for us to yield to the Christ, God’s message of love, coming to us at every moment.

When we are humbly willing to listen to God, divine Mind, for guidance, we feel the inspiration of divine might. Mrs. Eddy explains, “Meekness, moderating human desire, inspires wisdom and procures divine power” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 360). Expressing such meekness may take many forms, such as not retorting when a troubling comment is made, driving more patiently and gracefully in rush-hour traffic, making a concession in a business transaction in order to be fair, asking for help when we need it even if it might seem embarrassing, or admitting if we are mistaken about something.

That beautiful hymn phrase “where meekness will receive him” tells us that when we’re being willing to humbly listen to God and receive, accept, the unparalleled example and teachings of Christ Jesus, then the “dear Christ enters in.” That is, the radiant light of God – His eternal, healing message of good and love – illumines and enlightens our thought.

As the hymn describes it in the beginning of its last verse,

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given;
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.

God is always imparting this wonderful gift of the Christ’s tender message of love to us. And we can meekly, gratefully receive it – year-round.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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