A different Christmas but the unchanging Christ
No matter how different our holiday plans end up this year, one thing remains the same – God’s eternal message of love for us.
This will be a different Christmas season for many this year, with celebrations looking a little unlike our usual festivities. Naturally we all hope to be able to visit more with family and friends again soon.
Some things don’t change, though. Christmas is always a special time to express great gratitude for the life of Christ Jesus. And one of the most encouraging promises we gather from Jesus’ teachings is that God’s great love for all of us, expressed through the Christ, is unchangeable. The Christ, the healing, saving power of divine Love, God – which appeared most clearly to human view in the life of Jesus – remains with us forever. Jesus explains the eternal nature of Christ in this arresting statement, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58), indicating that the Christ has always been present to guide us and has never been limited to the span of one human life.
Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, explains this clearly: “The advent of Jesus of Nazareth marked the first century of the Christian era, but the Christ is without beginning of years or end of days. Throughout all generations both before and after the Christian era, the Christ, as the spiritual idea, – the reflection of God, – has come with some measure of power and grace to all prepared to receive Christ, Truth” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 333).
When my mum passed away one spring, I’d been strongly comforted by the spiritual idea of God’s ceaseless love, enabling me to understand my unchanging relationship to my eternal Mother, God. It was so inspiring to see divine Love constantly being expressed in new ways by family and even strangers. And a full healing of grief came very quickly through prayer in Christian Science.
As Christmas that year approached, though, a number of friends warned me how difficult this first Christmas holiday would be without my mum. I understood their caring motives for mentioning this to me, but quietly affirmed that all the prayers of the previous months couldn’t be overturned for me or my family. The holiday time proved to be a happy, gentle one for us all.
However, a few days before Christmas I had fallen in a multistory parking garage and slid down a steep, concrete ramp, bouncing on the base of my spine. I got right up and went on my way praying to declare and understand my spiritual freedom from injury, rejoicing that I was able to carry on with the planned activity for that evening. There was no evidence of the fall.
However, a few days later I found myself in a great deal of pain whenever I stood up or sat down, and I was unable to walk far. It was a busy time of attending and hosting family parties, and I also had a large role in the services at my local Church of Christ, Scientist. I was praying for myself, but no physical progress was evident.
One night, as I turned in prayer to God, I asked for His Christ to show me the way. I was expecting to gain spiritual insights that would alert me to baseless mental suggestions, not coming from divine Mind, God, that lay behind the pain.
Suddenly, I remembered the comments of the well-meaning friends who’d expected me to be in mental anguish at this time, because of my mum’s absence. The action of Christ was uncovering a subtle underlying thought that I needed to refute. While I had genuinely been healed of the grief and anguish related to my mother’s passing, the expectancy that I would be in pain appeared to be trying to present itself in this different way.
Now knowing exactly what I needed to address, I prayerfully affirmed that I had already been healed of any association of “pain” with Christmas, and so I couldn’t possibly be bound by that expectation playing out, physically or mentally. I woke the next morning completely free from any pain or stiffness and have never suffered from this again.
It was a deep lesson for me that even when we face huge, seemingly turbulent changes, we can rely on the unchanging Christ to minister to us daily and remove from our thought and experience any ill effects from such changes.
If we are facing a lonely or difficult Christmas without our usual family celebrations, or with loved-ones missing this year, we can draw fresh inspiration from the ever present Christ, which Science and Health describes as ““God with us,” – a divine influence ever present in human consciousness” (p. xi). This divine influence brings healing to us through revealing God’s ever-present and unchanging love.
Some more great ideas! To hear a podcast exploring the universal nature of Christly love, please click through to the latest edition of Sentinel Watch on www.JSH-Online.com titled “Celebrating Christmas, cherishing the love of Christ.” There is no paywall for this podcast.