It was the first Monday in December at 11:00 a.m. You wouldn’t think this little annex of the post office would be crowded—but it was. The line was about 10 people deep when I got there, but quickly grew longer. Yes, it looked like we were going to be there awhile; it was great!
Great?! I know, it sounds odd. But over the years, I have found that the crowd in line at the post office during the holidays is unusually festive. This time of year, seems to bring out the patience, calm, and good will in people. Just like other years, the Christmas spirit was alive and well as we waited to mail our packages and buy our holiday stamps.
In fact, one of the women in line shared with us that her husband works in Canada—quite a distance from here in Colorado. She stays here and takes care of the children and home while he commutes back and forth. With payday not quite in reach, and her husband in Canada with the only credit card they had, the furnace broke. Quite a predicament in chilly Colorado! When her neighbor found out, he immediately offered to pay for all of the repairs until they were in a position to reimburse him. She asked all of us if we could believe that?! She was overjoyed at her neighbor’s generosity, kindness, and immediate help. She felt it was a great example of the Christmas spirit.
We all agreed, and it made me think about how the Christmas spirit could be described as the “on earth peace, good will toward men” tangibly felt and, many times, acted on this time of year.
My thought went back over the centuries to when those words were first spoken. Shepherds were tending their flocks one night, when out of the starry darkness, an angel appeared to them. It shared with them the good news that a Savior, the Christ child, had been born. Then a multitude of heavenly messengers showed up and praised God saying those words we hear so often this time of year, “On earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).
Peace and good will are natural effects of the presence of the Christ. Christ is the divine title of Jesus, and also his spiritual identity. “This Christ, or divinity of the man Jesus, was his divine nature, the godliness which animated him” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 12).
I like to think that the divine nature that animated Jesus, is the same godliness that’s animating each of us today. The Christ never had a beginning, nor will it ever have an end. Christ Jesus spoke of this when he said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). Mrs. Eddy put it this way, “Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and the prophets caught glorious glimpses of the Messiah, or Christ, which baptized these seers in the divine nature, the essence of Love.” (Science and Health, p. 333).
This essence of Love is like a message from God to each one of us, reaffirming our spiritual nature as His beloved son or daughter. In fact, Mrs. Eddy describes this aspect of the Christ as, “…the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (Science and Health, p. 332).
So, this divine message directly from God, is more than a feely-good moment that moves us to do things like donate food to a nearby food bank, although that impulsion is included. It points our thought upward to more spiritual ways of seeing ourselves, others, and the world; and that brings healing. It brings healing because once we understand more of our completely spiritual identity, the effects of matter-based thinking—sickness, lack, and chaos—just don’t fit with what God, divine Love is telling us about ourselves, and therefore, those effects disappear.
The Christ message comforts, guides, restores, redeems, and leads us to healing. Knowing this, we can rejoice with Paul in the Bible when he said, “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift”
(2 Corinthians 9:15).
Picture your extended family, what do you see? A family tree, with its trunk rooted firmly in the ground, and its branches sticking out at all angles? Or do you picture the sun, with you, and all of your loved family members as individual rays?
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy tells us that God is "at once the centre and circumference of being." Which means that a picture of God's family, the one and only family there really is, would look like the sun. God's at the center, and all of His individual ideas shine out from Him like rays of light. God delights in each member of His family of ideas. He loves them! And He declares them to be very good.
If you want to get along better with your spouse, a family member, or even a friend, a good place to start is to see that each one of us has a direct connection with God, Love--the one and only Creator. In fact, you'll never meet anyone who has a different Creator than divine Love.
Keeping our thought of those we know out of the ground, and accepting the Love-centered spiritual view of each other, helps us to value those around us. If God is delighting in His family, so can we!
Pop on over to Mountaintop Moments to read what Mrs. Eddy has to say about getting together with others!
The recipe for today’s countdown over in Mountaintop Moments (scroll down to December 21) reminds me of Christmas. When I was growing up, Mom always made Chocolate Chip Applesauce Loaf Cake—Chocolate Chip Bread, as my brother and I called it. Just the smell of it baking in the oven can transport me back to when I was a little girl--excited for the arrival of Christmas day!
Like this Christmastime goodie, there may be things you smell, hear, or taste, that remind you of certain situations, or even people: “Every time I smell roses, I think of Aunt Mary.” Although this is a harmless example, sometimes these “associations” aren’t so positive.
Maybe you’ve found yourself thinking something like this before: “Every time I work in my garden, I wake up sore.” Often, these connections aren’t personal; they’re general. “It’s December—flu season!”
We may feel we’re destined to experience the consequences of certain associations, but in fact, we’re not. In my own life, I’ve found it helpful to break free from their negative—but avoidable—effects by seeing them as Saint Paul did. In the Bible, he called evil, harmful thoughts, “the carnal mind,” and showed us how we can overcome these thoughts that obviously reject God, good. Why wouldn’t we want to be proactive in addressing this so-called mortal mind, which is daily making mental connections that lead to misconceptions and problems?
Another way to think of these associations is as “associative animal magnetism.” That’s a mouthful, but simply put, it stands for the thoughts that lead us to associate an action, time, person, or object, with a negative effect. This ultimately results in pulling us down—making us feel like we’re magnets for unhappiness, dissatisfaction, even sickness.
Spiritual thinker, and author, Mary Baker Eddy, discovered this link, and wrote about it, back in the 19th Century. She said, “Disease arises, like other mental conditions, from association” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 154).
Following this statement with an example on the same page, Mrs. Eddy gave an account of a man who was told he was occupying the bed of a patient who had died of cholera—a disease considered to be highly contagious in the early 1800s. He immediately developed the symptoms of the disease and died.
OK, that’s a dramatic example. And while you won’t find yourself in a situation like that, you might find yourself in an office full of people talking about flu symptoms and begin to experience them yourself. So how do you protect yourself from these false mental connections?
A good place to start is with another name for God—Mind. Since there is only one God, there is only one Mind. Every legitimate and good thought comes from this one and only divine Mind. The carnal, or mortal mind, that makes connections leading to sickness, despair, or suffering can’t possibly tell you the truth about anything, because as Paul pointed out to the Romans back in Bible times, “The carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7). Only the Mind that is also Truth, can give you the true picture of things.
When faced with associative animal magnetism and its ill effects, you can remember this instruction from Mrs. Eddy: “Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts” (Science and Health, p. 261:4).
Those good, health-giving thoughts from Mind are the perfect remedy. And they’re even sweeter than Mom’s Chocolate Chip Bread on Christmas morning!
(scroll down to December 21 after clicking on the link)
Music isn’t a human invention; where there’s rhythm, harmony, and joy—there’s God. After all, God is the source of these spiritual qualities. Since music is divine, it transcends human limitations. Time has no bearing on the joy music gives. Think of the glorious musical scores by composers like Mozart or Bach, written so long ago. Neither can distance cancel the strength of music’s lasting connections. Music can also bypass the material senses—we can know harmonious tones on a spiritual level, when our ears aren’t even listening to them. Our spiritual sense tells us when a piece of music has washed over us in such a way that we’ll never be the same. Through our spiritual sense, we feel the harmony that puts a spring in our step, and the uplift that puts a smile on our faces—long after a great concert is over. Mrs. Eddy put it this way, “Mental melodies and strains of sweetest music supersede conscious sound. Music is the rhythm of head and heart” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 213).
I still remember with amazement the evening my old college friend from twenty years before—and many miles away—called me. He had been working in his garage that day, and one of our favorite songs had come on the radio. The call was unexpected, because I hadn’t heard from him in years. But honestly, it wasn’t that surprising. I had been cleaning out an old bench of sheet music, and had played the same piece of music on my piano that afternoon. It was astonishing to realize we had relived the connection of those musical memories—at almost the same moment—all those years and miles later. I felt God winking at us both.
Musical connections have their source in Soul—the artsy name for God. The inspiration behind a moving composition, lyrics that make us think, or even a catchy advertising jingle—leading us directly to the store—comes from Soul, which creates all melody and expresses all harmony. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been moved by music in some way. God is eternal, and since music has its source in Him, the power of music is nothing new.
The Bible gives an account of Solomon dedicating the temple he’s built for God. (See 2 Chronicles, chapter 5.) Music was a valued part of the temple’s magnificence. The instruments were placed alongside the silver and gold. They, and the harmony they would surely express, were as treasured as the precious metals.
What a powerful scene as the music began to play in Solomon’s new temple: “As the trumpeters and singers were as one…and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music…then the house was filled with a cloud…for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God” (2 Chronicles, 5:13-14).
As you’re enjoying this music video by the group Pentatonix, and all of the other music you’ll be hearing this Christmas season, remember that music expresses the glory of God, and helps us feel connected to Him. “Music is more than sound in unison....Music is divine” (Message to The Mother Church, 1900, p. 11).
I hope these insights will inspire readers to think more spiritually about themselves and the world around them!