The Christmas story
My little daughter loves to hear about the birth of the baby Jesus. She often asks for this story. As I relate the familiar account again and again, I am glad she love it so much. And yet I wonder how I can convey to a three-year-old that this is much more than a story of the birth of a baby.I want her to understand its inner significance and spiritual meaning.
Well-known narratives in the Bible have such a timeless, spiritual message. Sometimes they depict states of thought that need healing; other times they give profound guidance in how this can be achieved. They reveal deep spiritual ideas that mankind has been yearning to understand throughout the ages.
The birth of Jesus brought to light such an idea. The coming of Messiah to prove to mankind God's saving love and justice was foretold in OLd Testament prophecy, and the manner of Jesus' conception and birth indicated the setting aside of many widely held assumptions about the nature of man. This idea of genuine sonship with God came to full fruition during Jesus' three-year healing ministry.
The healing ability Jesus exercised is sorely needed today -- and we can begin to develop it. We have the Bible, which includes the record of Jesus' work, to show us how. That much-loved and often told Christmas story could inspire the birth in our own though, of a clearer, provable understanding of Jesus' teachings and how they bring healing. In one of her Christmas messages Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, comments: "In different ages the divine ideas assumes different forms, according to humanity's needs. In this age it assumes, more intelligently than ever before, the form of Christian healing. This is the babe we are to cherish." n1
n1 Miscellaneous Writings,m p. 370.
how did Jesus heal? What did he see so clearly about the nature of God and man that the healings were immediate? The Bible, and in particular the New Testament, reveals God, as Love and Spirit. All the way through there is emphasis on God's goodness and omnipotence. Surely this wonderful fact that God loves man and allows no power to oppose Himself was the basis of Jesus' good works.
The Bible shows how the Hebrew people suffered disorders -- of the state and even of the body -- when they turned away from God and allowed their concept of Him to become twisted and clouded by misconceptions. Doesn't the same thing happen to us today? And what about man? The Bible states in the first chapter of Genesis that "God created man in his own image in the image of God created he him." n2 If one has an incorrect view of God, how can he have a correct view of man?
n2 Genesis 1:27.
So it is essential to strive persistently to increase our understanding of God. Only then can we clarify our concept of man and realize that man is the image of Love, Spirit, good: the image of perfection. God's omnipotence and goodness, understood, eliminate evil and disorder. Mrs. Eddy states in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:m "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick." n3
n3 Science and health,m pp. 476 -- 477.
These are the thoughts that go through my mind as I recount the Christmas story to my daughter. As I begin to see more clearly and love more deeply the idea of spiritual healing this story reveals, I feel a precious idea is a being born. I am resolved to cherish it with the same eagerness and fresgness my daughter shows for the retelling of this hictoric event.
I realize too that she is receiving her own inspiration from God to meet her need; that the healing message in this story will always be with her, revealing itself in fresh ways. Isaiah's promise is special to everyone who learns to love the deep meaning of Christmas: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." n4
n4 Isaiah 9:6.
Daily Bible Verse Whoseover believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. I John 5:1