W.O.W. = Walk on water. Peter did it. He stepped out of the boat. That showed his willingness to master limitation. Fear might have tried to sink him, but Peter did walk on water with a helping hand.
This year my resolution is a little different. No more thinking small. Sure, I would like to eat better, move more, and drop off unecessary habits that waste my time. But rather than focus on the minnows of limitation nipping at my toes, I would like to go after the big fish of fear that would tell me I can't get out of the boat and express my unlimited potential for good. And I think I can do this in four steps.
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I don't think my home was ever as beautiful. Peace had descended. All was calm. Everyone in the house was tucked in bed. With fragrant candles burning and a warm fire crackling, I cuddled up in an armchair in front of our Christmas tree and drank in the scene.
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.
__A glorious day is dawning, and o'er the waking earth...
In dark and hidden places there shines the blessed light;
The beam of Truth displaces the darkness of the night.
Christian Science Hymnal, #2
As Christmas comes again, I find it interesting that we celebrate Christmas in December, even though Bible scholars generally agree that Jesus was probably born in the spring. Those of us in the northern hemisphere are experiencing the darkest of days, yet, in the Christian, Gnostic and Jewish traditions, we're commemorating and celebrating the presence of light.
Our daughter, Susan, decided to come for a visit and help with some chores. It was a wonderful. Most touching was getting the Christmas tree in and up! We decorated it with lots of lights. Since 9/11 we have decorated only with lights as a way to remember to pray for those whose lives were changed on that day. However, when I came across a box of old decorations, we had a great time looking at them and remembering past Christmases. We felt it was time to add them to the lights, so this year we did.
When I pulled out a little angel from the box, Susan got all excited. “You put the date on this one and it’s my birth date! I was just 6 months old that Christmas!” Even though the little angel had lost its shine and its left wing was broken, there was just one place for it - the place of honor at the top of the tree.
_For many years, Our large immediate family would gather at my home every year for a holiday meal mid-December. This allowed for each couple to have Thanksgiving and Christmas with their kids and in-laws in their own homes, but also gave us a chance to have a special day together.
The first year I hosted the dinner, I prepared way too much food. The day after, I spontaneously called up a few friends and invited them to come to help us eat the leftovers, and suggested we could go out Christmas caroling before the meal. Most everyone accepted with enthusiasm. But one couple asked if they could come to the meal but skip the singing. Knowing that we lived in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, they were concerned that our neighbors would be offended by the carols.
_Today's post is a link to a lovely and special blog. Virginia Harris, CSB's post is a powerful message of God's healing love expressed through His gift of the Christ presence. Enjoy!
This morning when I was wrapping presents, I was thinking about the most meaningful present I have ever received on Christmas day: it was the tangible feeling of the present presence of the Christ. And it changed my life.
For several days I was unable to walk many steps — even standing was a challenge. During the early morning hours of Christmas, as I sat looking out the window, I felt an overwhelming sense of love and power embracing me… Go to full post
I was standing in the grocery store one day feeling pushed by the clock. And grumpy. And the person in front of me was being rude to the checkout clerk. The clerk was trying to keep his cool, but was starting to lose it, too. My thought? "Well I would pray about this, but I don't really have time. I will do it later when I get home."
The thing was, I had been saying that all day. Not only had I neglected praying for myself for lack of time, but I was pushing off all kinds of things. "I would do this, or I should do that, but I don't have time. I will get to it later." And the time kept passing, and the pressure kept building, and my mood - along with the attitude of all those around me - was deteriorating.
As things continued heating up in front of me, I starting looking around the store for an escape route to a shorter, less volatile line. A sign over head caught my eye: Self Checkout. Without budging an inch, I chuckled, thinking, "That is probably what is needed more than anything else - a moment of self-examination!"
_When our children were small, our tradition was to have breakfast, open the gifts, and play with the toys for awhile. It was a busy, happy, noisy time with five children! Then we piled into the station wagon for the drive to Grandma's and Grandpa’s house where we would have lunch and more gift opening.
On one particular Christmas day, sitting around the lunch table, Grandma asked for volunteers to say grace. Five year old Matthew - generally a very quiet boy – offered to pray. This is how it went:
“Thank you, God, for all the gifts we got, and for all the ones we’re going to get!”
A study of Phillips Brooks' famous hymn "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" uncovers a little secret. In the original manuscript of the carol there was a fourth verse rarely used in hymn books. Doctrinal elements in the original verse led to some criticism, prompting Brooks to remove it from the carol altogether. However, the fourth verse was published in The English Hymnal (1906), Songs of Praise (1925), and The Oxford Book of Carols (1928), and elements of it continue to appear to this day in The Christian Science Hymnal, where parts of the original second and fourth stanzas are joined to form one verse.
_ I have enjoyed conversing with a dear friend on the subject of spirituality and Christian Science. She is a very spiritually-minded physician. I’ll never forget our first conversation.It began as we left a parking lot at the end of a shopping trip and went on for a total of three hours as we sat in the car in my driveway.
I wouldn’t say we’ve had many conversations on spirituality, but rather just one on-going conversation in many venues, - sitting side by side on the beach, via e-mail, or face to face across a table. We just pick up where we left off, sharing ideas and resources that inspire us and talking about how we’ve applied these ideas in our daily lives. I love it!
Recently we were discussing the subject of angels. She said that she only thinks of angels at Christmas time. Images of angels do especially fill the landscape at Christmas, don’t they? Heavenly, sweet-faced, ethereal individuals clothed in white flowing garments, with wings, wearing a halo, holding a harp. Realizing that in referring to angels perhaps we weren’t talking about the same thing, I told her that we needed to stop for a moment and define our terms... Read more
To read the rest, please visit Diane's new blog on her new website. This is her first official post!
One needs only look at the Cabbage Patch doll phenomenon of 1984, the Talking Elmos of the 1990’s, the Pokemon craze of 2000 and today’s hot search for the LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet, to see that parents and children are often carried away on pressure-driven marketing currents as Christmas approaches. There’s nothing like shopping at the last minute for a popular gift that is only available in limited quantities. Fear of disappointing a child, or even an adult, can leave one vulnerable to all kinds of desperate tactics (even pepper spray, as in recent cases!)
No matter how extreme the pressure may be, there is a spiritual perspective that can broaden what look like limited options and can ultimately meet any need. In fact, unless we step back and get this better perspective, we won’t really accomplish what we so much desire: to bring joy to someone we love. Instead, we’ll end up worn down and empty-handed.
Lights and cards and gifts and pageants. Baking and organizing and decorating and shopping. Parties to attend. Lists to follow. How do you care for yourself when holiday activities reach a fever pitch mid-December?
The Apostle Paul recommends prayer. He said that in praying, "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)
But is the most effective approach to prayer merely a pleading for respite from the frenetic pace? I have prayed that way on occasion, but was never really satisfied by it. The prayer that truly rests and refreshes involves affirming, and coming to feel, the all-power and all-presence of divine Love, omniscient Mind, all-need-supplying-Spirit. And it can make a huge difference.
For me, Christmas, more than New Year's, is all about a fresh start. Any move in a new direction begins with a thought open and receptive to changing, to responding, to growing. When thought shifts, lives tend to follow. And the Christmas season gives us so much opportunity to shift away from fear and limitation and the mundane sameness of everyday and to reflect on the Christ.
As one considers the living presence of the power of God, Good, mental doors can open to His divine light, His multi-colored, many-faceted opportunities, and His healing influence. A Christmas of new views can lead to a New Year of sparkle - of unfolding good.
Christmas 2003 had been a quiet one. I had been widowed a few years and was settled in a new home. Our daughter was now an adult. My life had become simplified and settled, and I felt that room was being made for something new but I wasn't sure what it would be. I was feeling hesitant and a little afraid. So, during December, I had begun to study Jesus' life - reading the gospels and acquainting myself more with his healing mission - to open myself to the power of Christ in my own life.
_Today I am reposting an early blog that has just been published in the December 19, 2011 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel magazine. It is posted with permission.
I was thinking of my daughter this morning, recalling a healing she experienced through prayer when she was about four years old. She had an earache, and although I tried to pray for healing, I wasn’t getting very far. So Betsy said, “Mommy, let’s call Mrs. K.” Mrs. K was a friend and Christian Science practitioner whom we sometimes called to help with problems.
Betsy took the phone and told her what was wrong and then listened to what Mrs. K had to say. Just a few moments after she got off the call, she was totally well. No pain, nothing. It was over, and off she went to play.
“Wait a minute!” I said to her. “What did Mrs. K say?” I had been praying, and it seemed as though nothing had changed as a result. I was really curious about how and why the healing had come about so easily.
_When the Christmas season arrives, I’m always reminded of the phone calls my granddaughter and I had many years ago. She was a toddler just learning to put words together, and she loved it when her mom would let her talk to me on the phone.
During that Christmas season, I would end our conversations this way: “Good bye. I love you. Merry Christmas!” It wasn’t long before little Hannah caught on and would repeat, “Goodbye, I love you. Merry Christmas!” This is how we concluded all our calls during the month of December.
How would I pray about video game addiction? Yesterday's blog post generated this question from a reader. A couple of week's ago, a reader asked if I would address the the subject of motivation. How can we keep our motives on track? What motivates effective prayer and action?
When his disciples asked him to teach them how to pray, Jesus didn't ask them the subject of their prayer. He told them the subject. "Our Father." Jesus' teachings on prayer, as recorded in Scripture, are not exhaustive. But, they succinctly illustrate an important point. God is the subject of prayer that leads to healing in any case. Prayer and action motivated by the simple desire to understand God heals.
_ Have you ever found yourself in such a dark place that you have wondered if there was truly a way out?
I have been thinking about the Bethlehem star. On the blackest night, a beam of light illuminated the place where the Christ child lay.
Was it Jesus’ star? I think I have always thought so. But it was the prophet-shepherds and wisemen who saw it and followed. I believe that star belonged to them and it belongs to each of us.
_Due to a heavy travel schedule and lack of internet access while on the road, I will not be posting for the next few days. If you would like to be notified when the next blog is available, feel free to enter your email in the box under "For blog updates" in the righthand column of this screen and click on "Subscribe me" to sign up for email notifications.
I will miss writing for you. But I will be gathering some more good ideas for future posts. See you soon!
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A blog reader asked, "Is hand-washing to eliminate potential sickness-causing germs an expression of divine wisdom ?"
"'Tis the season to be jolly," goes the Christmas carol. But I know someone who pre-plans sick days for the month of December because he expects to get sick every year about this time. The airwaves are full of recommendations on prevention - from shots to hand-washing. Yet every season many of those who follow all the latest medical recommendations contract whatever cold or flu is passing around.
Christ Jesus was a master healer. But his healing work wasn't accomplished through following human health codes. He touched the untouchables and healed them of their diseases. (See Matthew 8:2-3) When his disciples were accused of breaking a religious requirement to wash their hands before eating, Jesus explained, "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man." (See Matthew 15:1-11)
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