Did you have a good Christmas?
Originally printed as an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel
Thankfully, a lot of people will answer an unqualified yes to that question. They feel refreshed in spirit. Ready to go back to work, school, or whatever their normal routine is. Sometimes, though, there can be a letdown in the wake of Christmas holidays. Perhaps family we love has gone home again, or perhaps there was no family to come or go to. Sometimes there's a feeling that for all the outward symbols of the season, we missed out on the inner peace and inspiration that we wanted more than anything else.
But these heavy feelings can be lifted. It's not too late to have the glow of spiritual renewal that comes from reflecting on the life of Jesus. One way to do that is to spend time thinking through some of his words. For example, here are three verses from the Gospel of John that can spark Christmas warmth anytime:
"He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me" (John 12:44).
Imagine what it would have been like to be with Jesus during the three years of his public ministry. You see hundreds of diseased people healed before your eyes. People who have been blind see again. People who haven't walked for years get up and move freely. A violently insane man instantly recovers his sanity, and a dead man rises from his coffin. As astonishing as all this is, when you see it over and over, you really begin to believe in Jesus' extraordinary power. You're convinced he has a divine origin.
And yet he tells you that if you believe in him, you're actually not believing in him. There's something greater underlying what he does. What could be greater than Jesus?
"And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me" (John 12:45).
God sent Christ Jesus. Jesus' life shows the nature of God. It shows love so powerful that diseases vanishes in its presence. Goodness so compelling that people who have abused themselves and others stop doing so and reform. Jesus' life reveals a higher Lawgiver than physiology or psychology. There is proof after proof that God is supreme in the lives of men, women, children, nature. And we find this great promise for everyone:
"I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness" (John 12:46).
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, saw this promise - the promise of Christmas - fulfilled in her life. In an autobiographical sketch, she tells of a time when her world seemed totally dark and hopeless. As she took the Bible and read one of Jesus' healings, a great light dawned on her consciousness. It was a light that would transform her life. She later described what she glimpsed at that moment: "Being was beautiful, its substance, cause, and currents were God and His idea" ("Retrospection and Introspection," pg. 23).
No one has to abide in darkness. A friend of mine grew up in an alcoholic home. Religion never made much sense to her. "It was for good people, and I wasn't one," she told me. She got caught up in drugs and alcohol herself, but there was such emptiness that she started seeking something better. She joined a twelve-step program. When she made a commitment to put God first in her life, she began to pull out of the darkness. Soon after that, she visited a church and heard the Bible read along with "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mrs. Eddy. "It was the idea that God is Love that stood out to me," she explained. "I learned we are loved and are reflections of Love. I knew I was home. As I studied Jesus' works, he became alive to me. He knew the scientific truth about everyone, and that's available to me."
Wherever you are in your spiritual journey, the light of Jesus' life is available. It's never too late to have a good Christmas.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society