As the much-loved Christmas account goes, a radiant star flickered persistently in the deep shade of night to guide the wise men to the baby Jesus.
We all need a guiding light when we find ourselves in a dark place, and Christian Science has shown me that we have one. It explains how turning to God in prayer can open us to the divine light of understanding that shows what God is and does for us. This spiritual light or divine enlightenment is the Christ, or Truth, that heals.
One Christmas I experienced the healing power of this guiding star – of God’s light of pure love leading to hope and healing. It was shortly after my first husband had passed on, and the weight of grief and deep sadness enveloped me. My future felt bleak and meaningless.
As midnight approached on Christmas Eve, I reached out with the deepest heartfelt longing for God to show me how to go forward. As I did, I felt the impetus to become completely still. In total silence I listened inwardly for a response. In this mental stillness, a shift occurred. Instead of pleading for help, I felt as if I was being filled with the spiritual light of divine Truth.
Christian Science also teaches that Truth, God, is divine Mind, the only true Mind of each of us, God’s spiritual creation. This Mind reflects in its creation all true thought, and God’s thoughts don’t include anguish and pain. Jeremiah, a Bible figure who glimpsed something of this, wrote, as The Jewish Publication Society 1917 version of the Hebrew Bible, Tanakh, puts it, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
As I considered these ideas in prayer, I realized that Mind, God, doesn’t fret and fear for me or any of His children. He already knows and gives each of us what is necessary for us to thrive.Acknowledging God’s “thoughts of peace” toward me, I saw a future of good – of great possibilities of a new life full of love and fresh opportunities, because God is expressing His goodness in all His spiritual offspring, at every moment. I knew I could trust God to lead me forward, and I fell into a peaceful sleep. Upon waking on Christmas morning, I felt a clear sense of God’s love and guidance. The mental darkness was gone and didn’t return. I was healed.
In a Christmas message included in her “Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” Mary Baker Eddy, discoverer of Christian Science and founder of the Monitor, wrote, “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.”
The radiant beams of divine Mind, God, are ever with us, bearing the good news that darkness has no real power to displace or repel the divine light of God’s goodness. May this guiding star light your way to peace and healing this Christmas season.
This article appears on soon on csmonitor.com.
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Sponsored by Seventh Church of Christ, Scientist, Kansas City.
Lecture: Christian Science What it is and how it heals (Kansas City version online until Feb 12, 2019)
Sponsored by Seventh Church of Christ, Scientist, Kansas City
Sponsored by First Church of Christ, Scientist, Oklahoma City
Settling into my airplane seat on the next leg of a long business trip, I heard a man say to his seat companion behind me, “I am so happy we live here. I love our home. I love our neighbors.” I didn’t really want to eavesdrop, but the sincerity in his voice drew me in. Next I heard, “I am grateful for our friends and for my work here. I am grateful for you!”
This flight was a year ago, yet I still remember his words clearly. Why? Because his list of heartfelt gratitude made me feel grateful, too. I considered the good in my life and all around me, and a fatigue that had accompanied me onto the flight dropped away completely, allowing me to arrive at my next stop joyful and energetic.
More than just positive thinking, gratitude can be a powerful, spiritual force for good, rendering one receptive to healing. I once found myself in desperate straits, and gratitude was key to my turnaround. I had been ill for some time and became very discouraged. The list of what was wrong seemed to grow every hour, and I was very tired of it all.
Seeking inspiration, I opened my Bible to Habakkuk, a book that was rather unfamiliar to me. As I began to read, I noted a lot of “woe is this” and “woe is that,” and oh, my, could I ever relate! But as I continued reading, I was struck by a sudden corrective to the negative flow: “But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him” (2:20).
To me, this was like a big “Shut up!” to the list of woes stirring around in my own thoughts. In the 1932 “Christian Science Hymnal” there is a verse I love:
“A grateful heart a temple is,
A shrine so pure and white,
Where angels of His presence keep
Calm watch by day or night.”
(Ethel Wasgatt Dennis, No. 3, © CSBD)
I considered how the antidote to any woe could be found in the holy “temple” of gratitude, of acknowledging God as abundant, divine good. The good that comes from God, who knows only peace and harmony, is more powerful than any evil, because it is unlimited.
These ideas stirred a change in me. I began to more consciously dwell in that temple of gratitude, considering the evidence of good from God in my life.
As I did this, I learned that it is impossible to be discouraged and truly grateful at the same time. Genuine gratitude is a manifestation of God’s goodness reflected in us. Such gratitude isn’t of human origin. It is a divine attribute, reflected in each one of us as God’s creation. This means no one can be shut out of the temple of gratitude – everyone is capable of feeling grateful, no matter what the human circumstance may be.
This doesn’t mean simply forgetting about or ignoring bad things. On the contrary, acknowledging the supremacy of God, good, equips us to overcome challenges. It magnifies God’s goodness in tangible ways. As we acknowledge the presence of spiritual good for all, gratitude expands in our consciousness and displaces mental darkness, doubt, and discouragement.
In my case, gratitude cut off the “poor me” discouragement that distracted me from knowing, hearing, and feeling God’s presence, or healing Christ – God’s message of love for each and every one of us, which Jesus expressed so fully. And I began to recover quickly from the illness. In fact, within a very short time, I was completely well.
In the United States, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in late November, but a spirit of gratitude is a healthy mental state every day of the year. Here is the whole of the hymn mentioned earlier, which reminds us of what a grateful heart is and does for us all:
“A grateful heart a garden is,
Where there is always room
For every lovely, Godlike grace
To come to perfect bloom.
A grateful heart a fortress is,
A staunch and rugged tower,
Where God’s omnipotence, revealed,
Girds man with mighty power.
A grateful heart a temple is,
A shrine so pure and white,
Where angels of His presence keep
Calm watch by day or night.
Grant then, dear Father-Mother, God,
Whatever else befall,
This largess of a grateful heart
That loves and blesses all.”
From the Christian Science Monitor, November 23, 2018
Sponsored by First Church of Christ, Scientist, New Bern, NC
This latest recording of a live web lecture includes a look at the Lord's Prayer in relation to helpful elements of healing prayer. The powerpoint is updated to bring out the methodology and reasoning in the prayer Jesus gave us that meets all human needs.
Sponsored by First Churches of Christ, Scientist, Honolulu and Maui, Hawaii,
I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no