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.
_When we are looking for the gift that will truly satisfy, it’s helpful to remember the priceless gift of being loved. Pure love is the gift of the Christ, a gift God constantly gives to everyone in a way that can be understood. Prayer reveals it. Quite apart from the human inclination to rush around searching for the right gift, gentle silence and meekness are facets of the gift of Christ.
These qualities, coupled with a willingness to be still and listen for God’s voice, unwrap spiritual intuition from the fears that would bind up our hopes. Fresh ideas become apparent. Prayer brings our thought into conformity with God’s perfect gift for everyone, the healing Christ. It raises our expectations above simply material solutions, above the feeling that “if I can just get this gift everything will be all right.” It opens the way for love to be expressed in practical, satisfying, and unexpected ways.
__Many years ago I was doing a lot of traveling for my work just before the Christmas holiday. I wasn’t my usual organized self and found myself rushing around at the last minute for Christmas gifts. Our daughter was young – four or five – and had a list of wants a mile long taken straight from commercials on TV. She sang me a jingle to be sure I would know what was at the top of her list. The thing was, I hadn’t seen these commercials, didn’t recognize the jingle, forgot the name of the toy, and consequently was at a loss for what to choose when I got to the store.
When Christmas morning came, it was clear that nothing I had found was on the list of items from her favorite commercials. She put on a good front, but I could see she was disappointed. I was, too. I had really wanted to find the right gifts.
I began to pray for her and for myself. I realized that I had a choice to make. Was I going to let our Christmas be marred by material influences and the latest popular fads? Was I going to let Christmas be ruled by material wants? Or was I going to see both my daughter and myself as God’s children, hence spiritual, pure-intentioned, motivated and truly satisfied by love, honesty and gratitude?
__I made my choice and watched as my daughter warmed to and began to happily discover the joy in her gifts. Later that day, my family arrived for dinner. Without realizing it, my sister-in-law had purchased the most popular toy of the season as a gift for our little girl. It was the doll that went with the jingle. Aunt Pen’s status jumped to Christmas star in this child’s eyes!
Mary Baker Eddy once wrote: “Christmas to me is a reminder of God’s great gift – His spiritual idea, man and the universe, - a gift which so transcends mortal, material, sensual giving that the merriment, mad ambition, rivalry, and ritual of our common Christmas seem a human mockery in mimicry of the real worship in commemoration of Christ’s coming.” She continues, “I love to observe Christmas in quietude, humility, benevolence, charity, letting good will towards man, eloquent silence, prayer, and praise express my conception of Truth’s appearing.” (First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p.262)
Quietude, humility, benevolence, charity, good will, prayer, and praise are divine means of expressing God’s gift of the Christ. And when they are brought to bear in our lives and our prayers, all our Christmas preparations, including any holiday shopping, will be calm, productive and satisfying.
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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