The story of the Nativity – the birth of Jesus – is celebrated around the world, especially this time of year. There are two treasured accounts of his unique birth in the Scriptures, in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. They tell how, even as a baby, Jesus was identified as the Messiah that would fulfill biblical prophecy and bring salvation to the world.
Matthew’s Gospel tells how wise men from the East were attracted by the star of Bethlehem that shone over the place where Jesus lay. The association of the birth of Jesus with what has come to be known as the “Christmas star” establishes a sense of light being connected with him, a point that is emphasized in the Gospel of John when Jesus states, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (8:12).
Jesus, his birth, and this corresponding sense of light had profound significance for the founder of The Christian Science Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, who unrelentingly strove to follow the example of Jesus. Mrs. Eddy saw the birth of Jesus as the appearing of the Christ, the spiritual idea of God, divine Truth, in the flesh, and she also articulated how the Christ is an eternal, divine influence always present in our consciousness. Her discovery of Christian Science revealed the understanding of how Christ heals our ills and can free us from sin. In her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” she wrote, “Led by a solitary star amid the darkness, the Magi of old foretold the Messiahship of Truth. Is the wise man of to-day believed, when he beholds the light which heralds Christ’s eternal dawn and describes its effulgence” (p. 95)?
One day when I was coming down with a cold, I experienced the dawn of the Christ in my consciousness. I began to pray, turning to the understanding of man’s true selfhood as the spiritual offspring of God that the healing works of Christ Jesus evidenced. I acknowledged that man is a spiritual idea in Mind, another name for God – the only Mind. And so man’s identity is good, pure, complete, harmonious, and immortal, not attached to material conditions such as illness or sickness.
I also gave prayerful thought to an idea in Science and Health: “if sickness and sin are illusions, the awakening from this mortal dream, or illusion, will bring us into health, holiness, and immortality. This awakening is the forever coming of Christ, the advanced appearing of Truth, which casts out error and heals the sick” (p. 230). I felt as though I was experiencing this awakening, and the words “forever coming” especially stood out to me. I saw that the Christ is always at hand, ever present, always dawning in human consciousness and revealing spiritual reality. So, the potential for healing is always a reality, and it can take place now! With that recognition of the dawn of the Christ in my consciousness, I felt a bodily change take place and I was healed of all cold symptoms.
The Christmas star that shone centuries ago, attracting and leading the wise men to the Bethlehem infant, pointed to the coming of the Christ, Truth, in that age – and it still shines. As Mrs. Eddy writes: “The star that looked lovingly down on the manger of our Lord, lends its resplendent light to this hour: the light of Truth, to cheer, guide, and bless man as he reaches forth for the infant idea of divine perfection dawning upon human imperfection, – that calms man’s fears, bears his burdens, beckons him on to Truth and Love and the sweet immunity these bring from sin, sickness, and death” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 320).
The light of Christ, Truth, still shining today as the divine influence in the world, voices the promise of healing, health, reformation, restoration, peace, and goodwill for humanity.