I drove past the apartment where, as a new bride, I put up my first Christmas tree and where our daughter was born. Such happy memories.
Then the car seemed to drive itself past the house where we celebrated baby's first Christmas. This house was the first place we had ever tried to buy. In the end, the deal didn't work out and, as I sat in my car across the street and admired their Christmas decorations, I remembered how heartsick I was to lose that house. Not such happy memories.
For some, returning home for the holidays brings up the best reminiscences. For others, it stirs up regret as long forgotten experiences surface. A few avoid going home altogether. Many brace themselves and push ahead. But there is a way to go home that can be healing, progressive and leave you in a better place afterward.
_In Mary Baker Eddy's autobiography, that recounts her life and spiritual journey including both happy and difficult memories of her own childhood and marriages, she described the material, human history "as a tale that is told," and "as the shadow when it declineth." (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 21)
At Christmastime, we may find ourselves chasing after those shadows, or running away from them, unless we take to heart the spiritual lessons to be learned from our personal experiences, and move on in the light and fullness of the present good of God.
Eddy explained, "The heavenly intent of earth's shadows is to chasten the affections, to rebuke human consciousness and turn it gladly from a material, false sense of life and happiness, to spiritual joy and true estimate of being."
But the question naturally arises, how do we do it? How can we effectively let a material, false sense go and reclaim for ourselves spiritual joy and a true estimate of our lives?
_Here is a short list of tips that may offer help.
It isn't always easy to go home, but it can be healing, to the extent that we are open to the spiritual lessons of divine Love waiting for us. Eddy wrote, understanding the difficulties, "The awakening from a false sense of life, substance, and mind in matter, is as yet imperfect; but for those lucid and enduring lessons of Love which tend to this result, I bless God." (ibid.)
Any experience can be a push off point to renew our love and love more - to experience afresh God's love. As John said, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear." (I John 4:18)
Let God's love lead you home this Christmas and take care of you while you are there.
Are you afraid that something you did or that happened to you in the past is producing problems for you now? Are you worried about how this will affect your future? While the offense may seem out of reach in time and space, the divine Spirit that is God doesn’t leave you helpless. Spirit, through His healing Christ, can reach beyond the offending fear that pins you as a victim of circumstance and wake you up to your present spiritual being, free from trouble.
In a paragraph entitled "Scientific Obstetrics" in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “A spiritual idea has not a single element of error, and this truth removes properly whatever is offensive.” (463)
What does it mean to be spiritual? A good definition can be found in Paul’s letter to the Galations. “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (5:22,23)
The Living Bible explains it this way: “…the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!"
To identify ourselves and others as the spiritual idea of divine Spirit is to discover in us these fruits - what we are really made of. Spirit’s creation has never fallen or been tossed from perfection in Spirit to imperfection in matter. Imperfection isn’t a factor for a spiritual idea of God – it is no part of the divine equation. It is the role of the Christ to make us continually aware of this truth. With this awareness comes the proper removal of whatever is offending us – whether it is a fear or appears to be a condition with a history. We call this Christ-healing.
My daughter was a baby when she fell ill with aggressive and dangerous physical symptoms. The graveness of her condition and the immediate need for healing forced me to examine my thoughts and fears more deeply than I ever had before. As I prayed for her, I realized that I had suffered for a long time (too long) from a fear that my happiness was being controlled and limited by someone who hated me. I had accepted this hatred as a perpetual plague on my house and in many ways nurtured it through my own negative reaction. My fixation on an evil cause wasn’t helping me. At a moment when I was extremely angry and reactive, my daughter suddenly fell ill.
The wake-up for me came when I realized in prayer that neither I nor my daughter could be forced from spirituality with all the health and happiness that it included. To a spiritual idea all is spiritual and there is no evil – that which in Christian Science is often called “error” – to contend with. I recognized that it wasn’t enough for me to know this as some personal truth. To be classified as true it must extend out and embrace all parts of my experience, including the enemy I had accepted as my problem.
Interestingly, it wasn’t that I thought I shouldn’t hate her anymore, as if I had fallen into a pit and had to force myself out; I realized I couldn’t hate her anymore. The moment that I identified myself as Spirit’s own, I could only feel and express the fruits of the Spirit. I could suddenly only know this person as God knew her and me – as spiritual, never tossed through material circumstances that could produce hatred and reaction. I saw her as continually, uninterruptedly blessed. I saw me as blessed. I saw my daughter as blessed. The baby was healed instantly on the spot; and the evil influence of hatred on our family stopped cold.
That is how the Christ heals. God's message of light and love and holy power reveals each one of us as presently and permanently blessed. These kinds of experiences are revelatory. They become landmarks of spiritual growth.
The fact is, we have never fallen or been pushed from spirituality to materiality. Not a single one of us goes from being spiritual to material only to then have to struggle to become spiritual again. We are spiritually formed and brought forth and the Holy Spirit maintains us right at this point. God’s law is that a spiritual idea has not a single element of error. And as the Psalmist declares, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (119:165)
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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