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.
One Christmas, while caring for home and family responsibilities, I made a point of turning to God in prayer several times each day for peace, rest, direction and especially for the quiet that would allow me to hear God's thoughts throughout the day. A passage from Mary Baker Eddy's Miscellaneous Writings was particularly helpful during this time.
She wrote, "A little more grace, a motive made pure, a few truths tenderly told, a heart softened, a character subdued, a life consecrated, would restore the right action of the mental mechanism and make body and soul move in accord with God." (p. 354)
No matter how busy I was, I tucked into my days as many opportunities as I could find to express grace, share truths with friends in need, improve my motives - in other words, to live my prayers. This eased me through the most hectic times and gave real substance to my activities.
One day, though, as I was preparing for a dinner party for thirty, I had a moment where I was particularly frazzled. I needed to go do the grocery shopping for the dinner early in the morning before attending my daughter's school concert. It was essential that everything go like clockwork that day, as I really didn't have a minute to spare. A very intricate list of ingrediants was made the night before. Just before heading to the store in the morning, I took a moment to clip some coupons. When I arrived at the store, I discovered I had the coupons in one hand, but no list.
There was no time to go home and retrieve the list, and the items were unusual ingrediants and in different quantities than I would normally buy. I had no idea what to look for or how much I would need without that list. I was pretty angry with myself. I had no time for this. But with my empty shopping cart in front of me, I began to pray to see what God would have me know and do.
_In a few moments the answer came, "The Mind that enabled you to organize that list at home is with you right here at the store." This message put a stop to all the self-condemnation and frustration clamoring for attention.
I entered the store and started shopping. As I did, I pondered my motive in hosting this dinner party. It occurred to me that divine Love had impelled the activity. This dinner was to be an engagement party for my stepson and a first opportunity for the two families to meet. I figured that the same Love, God, impelling the activity, was also supplying me with the intelligence, energy, skill, and time to carry it out. Realizing that Love was my motivator and was supplying all the grace I needed to follow through with the plans lifted a feeling of burden that I had carried since I proposed the idea of hosting the dinner.
_As I shopped, I found that I knew just what I needed and how much to purchase. When I arrived home, I checked the items against the list and found that, not only had I purchased every item in the exact quantities noted, but I didn't purchase one single item beyond what was written on that list!
I wish you thoughtful, joy-filled quiet moments today. May the peace of God through Christ, found in prayer, keep your hearts and minds and motives and activities centered on divine, ever-present good. And may each of your December days be full of memorable expressions of His grace. This Christmas, every Christmas, is replete with blessings.
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