I was grateful for the peace and calm, but I wasn't feeling comfortable or settled. Far from it. I had been asked to pray for a sick child who had been diagnosed with a serious spinal infection. I had been searching all evening, but I hadn't yet felt that sweet assurance that comes when one knows that all is well.
Christmas and all its preparations had always meant a great deal to me. I loved to recreate a storybook Christmas full of magic and sweetness and delight of sight and sound. But as I prayed, I could feel something shifting. My priorities were changing. Alone in front of the tree, the material trappings of the holiday began to recede from focus as I considered the deeper meaning of Christmas, remembering something that Christian Science discoverer Mary Baker Eddy had once written about its true significance.
"An eternal Christmas would make matter an alien save as phenomenon, and matter would reverentially withdraw itself before Mind. The despotism of material sense or the flesh would flee before such reality, to make room for substance, and the shadow of frivolity and the inaccuracy of material sense would disappear. In Christian Science, Christmas stands for the real, the absolute and eternal, — for the things of Spirit, not of matter."
FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST, AND MISCELLANY, p.260
I wasn't bargaining with God. I was yielding to something most essential to Christian healing - an unselfed love that is willing to sacrifice the material and temporary, to make room for what is real and spiritual and permanent.
Now my prayer became very focused. I saw divine Love as the creator of this child and that Love didn't - wouldn't, couldn't - add a destructible material element to His perfect creation. My prayer went beyond words to actually feeling the presence of this all-powerful Love surrounding me in my living room. It wasn't in the things around me; but this holy presence, completely spiritual, assured me that all was well.
The child was healed. He went from a state of complete paralysis that evening to climbing a ladder to help his father put up Christmas lights the next.
Mrs. Eddy explained, "In different ages the divine idea 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. This is the babe that twines its loving arms about the neck of omnipotence, and calls forth infinite care from His loving heart." MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS, p.370
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