Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

How the spirit of Christmas will bring ongoing peace to the world   Leave a comment

Most of us will be travelling during the Christmas holidays, even if we’re simply driving to the local mall and negotiating parking. Whichever mode of transport we take, we’ll be affected by the actions of others.

 

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Although travel can be frustrating at times, I’m finding there are always affirmative, upbeat things to notice as we go: the excited faces of children, the courtesy of others, and the patience of parents and travel staff. However, the presence of harmony in human affairs is not something that happens by mere accident, in a universe of chance. It is actually evidence that the underlying power that governs the universe is Love.

 

The birth of Jesus Christ beautifully illustrated that power. Despite threat of harm by King Herod, Love provided for the travellers and the ensuing birth, comfort and care in a very safe and private place.

The more consciously we acknowledge that divine Love is governing us and everyone, the more harmony we will experience, too.

 

Jesus’ profound mission was to make plain our divine nature as “the children of God.” So, whenever we glimpse ours or another’s true nature, we have, in effect felt “the Christ”, “the divine message from God to men…”, as thought-leader Mary Baker Eddy defines the Christ in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

 

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That voice speaks to everyone, and at all times of the year. When we have done the right thing instead of the wrong, we have been directed by the Christ. When we have been patient instead of irritable, we have conceded to the dynamism of the Christ. When we have made a sound choice among several tempting options, we have listened to the Christ and we have seen the true love that’s characteristic of Christianity in action. (from The Love and Dynamism of the Christ, G J Barratt)

During the Christmas Season many of us revisit the life of Jesus, who so completely demonstrated this power of the Christ to bring out harmony in everyday life. The wonder of his virgin birth was not an isolated miracle but evidence of a spiritual law in operation that was confirmed by the healing works later evident in his adult life. Today, more and more people are recognising that his life, although unique and especially blessed, points to a way of living and thinking that’s actually available to each of us.

 

Indeed, seeing beyond the limits of nationalism and religiosity to the universal Christ is at the heart of Christianity. Truly supranational, the message of “the Christ,” in Jesus’ words, was for us to be “of one mind,” “love your enemies,” “bless them that curse you,” and realise “the kingdom of God is within you” and within all.

From this viewpoint, we can claim that same spiritual nature Jesus exemplified as ours also, and that of every man, woman and child we meet in our travels this Christmas.

There’s really no secret to experiencing harmony in the carpark, on a long-haul flight or during a family get-together. It may largely depend on how we think of ourselves and others.

 

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Kay Stroud writes on the connection between consciousness, spirituality and health, and trends in that field. She practices Christian Science healing and is the Committee on Publication, spokesperson for Christian Science in NSW, QLD, ACT, NT. Blog: www.health4thinkers.com Twitter: @KayJStroud

The Best Gift   Leave a comment

present.

Daily Lift by Margaret Rogers

In this 3 minute talk, The Best Gift, Margaret talks about the sense of peace and confidence that comes from trusting God.  She illustrates how this sense of wellbeing, even in the face of disturbing circumstances, is the greatest gift we can receive.

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Your 12 Steps to a Stress-Free Christmas   1 comment

dreamstime_3642401. Start with stillness.  There is always so much to be done before Christmas, so before starting go somewhere quiet to gain a sense of poise.  It might be your greatest gift to family and friends, as well as fellow workers, shoppers and shop assistants.  “Be the calm you want to see!”

2. Let love lead you.  Take opportunities to spread seasonal “peace and goodwill”.  Reordering priorities to do everything with intentional love can bring a sense of calmness and control, allowing you to get everything done more smoothly.

3. Value family and friends.  As you sign, seal and send your Christmas cards (via email or snail-mail) treat each one as an opportunity to value the person you are sending it to.

4. Be kind to yourself and others.  Research shows kindness is good for your health.  So saying sorry, no matter who causes the collision, might be the way to negotiate crowded streets, transport and busy shopping centres.

5. Shop ethically.  “Treat others as you would like to be treated” (the Golden Rule) could translate to “love the Christmas crowds as you would want them to love you.”

6. Embrace spontaneity.  The need to balance work, domestic duties and social activities is always more acute at Christmas time.  Keeping an open mind and making room for flexibility as each day unfolds reduces stress and increases joy.

7. Be grateful.  Scientists are accumulating evidence which verifies what spiritual thinkers would affirm from experience: a gratitude attitude can reduce anxiety and depression.

8. Enjoy yourself.  If you’re full of gratitude and exuding calmness and kindness why shouldn’t you cruise happily towards the kind of Christmas you enjoy?  Appreciate the festive lights.  Share in the growing anticipation of your children.  Meditate on the Christmas story and let the message inspire you.

9. But don’t forget others.  For some reason the season of goodwill seems to bring out the worst in many people’s experience.  Loneliness feels more lonely.  Alcoholism seems to be more obvious.  Domestic tensions can spiral.  Spare a prayer for those in need and, when you can, make a difference in practical ways.  The message of Christmas is that peace and goodwill are good for your health.

10. Peace interludes.  Pausing for moments of mental stillness can make all the difference, even transform your day.  Be honestly aware of your thoughts and when they start going round in circles or racing in a wrong direction steer them back to that place of spiritual poise.  “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.” (Mary Baker Eddy)

11. Forgive even if you can’t forget.  It’s amazing how long family feuds and broken friendships can last if we’re not careful.  The run-up to Christmas offers an opportunity to review and revise our mental list of grievances before they ruin our holiday break or, even worse, our health.  The Mayo Clinic reports that forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.  We can’t always change others.  But we can change how we think about them and act towards them.

12. Give beyond the gifts.  And finally it’s Christmas day.  Does it need to be religious?  Not necessarily.  But there is a reason to celebrate Jesus.  One way to look at his life is that he showed us how the qualities we choose to express can improve our experience and touch our loved ones and neighbours.

This article is shared by local writer and practitioner of Christian Science, Kay Stroud, who teams with Tony Lobl for this Christmas inspiration. Kay blogs for APN about the relationship between thought, spirituality and health, and trends in that field www.health4thinkers.com

Enjoy Christmas! It’s Good for Your Health   Leave a comment

dreamstime_3591030It’s December.  The countdown is on. Excitement is building.  The pace is quickening. Life is getting hectic.  There’s end-of-school activities, office parties, Christmas break-ups, and holiday plans to make; not to mention, shopping, gift wrapping, mailing items, putting up the decorations, cooking and preparing for the all-important family Christmas dinner.

With so much to do – especially for Mums, it can take the shine off this happy festive season.  Yet it’s possible to maintain the sparkle of joyous anticipation, remain stress-free, and really enjoy Christmas.  What’s more it’s good for your health.

KISS:  KEEP IT SWEET’N SIMPLE

Often the race to an enjoyable Christmas – one that’s filled with pleasure, is thought to be secured by the amount of time, energy and money devoted to it.  This isn’t necessarily true.  A happy occasion can be achieved equally as well with thoughtful, humble effort and modest expense.

TIP:

– Don’t get caught up in the “I need to do it all” mindset.  Whatever you need to do, keep it sweet and simple.  Your peace of mind is what matters on the day.

– Enjoy Christmas with your loved ones.  Look forward to spending a joyous time together. Count your blessings.

– Don’t stress-out over having everything “just right”.  Stay calm.  Relax. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifespan?  So if you cannot do such a small thing, why do you worry about the rest?” – Bible, Luke 12:25, and 26.

– Give thanks for the good gifts of life you have at hand – a loving family, kind friends, a safe home, peace.

STAY BALANCED

The Christmas season isn’t solely about festivities, or the shop-‘til-you-drop rush for gifts or toys.  It’s also about love, peace and “good will to men”.  Everyone yearns for that tender expression of heart-felt love which Christmas often inspires in people.  Such love is more than words on a card. It’s the active, caring kind that can ultimately lead to a love-filled, enjoyable Christmas.

TIP:

– This year place love at the top of your Christmas wish-list – to give and receive.

– Keep in mind that “The basis of Christmas is love loving its enemies, returning good for evil, love that “suffereth long, and is kind”.” – Mary Baker Eddy. Miscellany p.260

– Show others you care.  Spend extra time with your kids. Do something thoughtful for those you love.

– Be an unhurried friend, unharried shopper, unruffled neighbour, and an unflustered family member.

– Remember, enjoy Christmas!  You’ll find it’s good for your health.

This article is by Beverly Goldsmith.  Beverly is a Melbourne-based writer on how spirituality and thought affect health.

Beverly’s activities include: Writer for Pulitzer prize winning newspaper the Christian Science Monitor; magazine contributing editor and author of over 140 articles. 

She is a qualified Practitioner and Teacher of Christian Science healing with over 35 years experience.

 

The Secret to Trouble-Free Travel   Leave a comment

$ dreamstime_3175501The Festive Season is kicking in once again and many are anticipating travelling for Christmas holidays and to visit family.

But it won’t always be plain sailing! Whether it’s by coach, train, plane or car we are affected by the actions of others.

I’ve had my fair share of travel difficulties over the years, missing interstate meetings because of flight delays, standing in long queues, losing luggage, battling with tired children, being stuck in traffic jams and losing my patience on more than one occasion.

However, although travelling can be frustrating at times, I’m finding there are always affirmative, upbeat things to notice: the excited faces of children, the courtesy of others, the patience of parents and travel staff.

And I’m increasingly realising that the presence of good in human affairs is not something that happens by mere accident, in a universe of chance. It is actually evidence that the underlying power that governs the universe is Love.

On a recent interstate short-break I was delighted and thankful not to experience a single hold-up, flight delay, argument or problem of any description.

Had I done something differently?

Yes, I feel I had. The truth is that I’m learning the more I consciously acknowledge the power of divine Love, governing me and everyone, the more harmony I experience. And that is what I had been doing on this trip – acknowledging and understanding that good governs in my life – not because of any personal entitlement, but because of the availability of that same abundant good for everyone.

I have also been learning that whenever we glimpse the truth about man’s divine nature, we have, in effect felt the Christ – “the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men…” – as spiritual thought-leader Mary Baker Eddy defines the Christ in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

That voice speaks to everyone, and at all times of the year. When we have done the right thing instead of the wrong, we have been directed by the Christ. When we have been patient instead of irritable, we have conceded to the dynamism of the Christ. When we have made a sound choice among several tempting options we have listened to the Christ and we have seen the true love that’s characteristic of Christianity in action. (See The love and dynamism of the Christ, by Geoffrey Barratt.)

During the Christmas Season many of us revisit the life of Jesus, who so perfectly demonstrated this power of the Christ to bring out harmony in our lives. The wonder of his virgin birth was not an isolated miracle but evidence of a spiritual law in operation that was confirmed by the healing works that animated his adult life. Today, more and more people are recognising that his life, although unique and especially blessed, points to a way of living and thinking that’s actually available to each of us.

Truly supranational, the message of the Christ in Jesus’ words was to be “of one mind,” “love your enemies,” “bless them that curse you,” and realise “the kingdom of God is within you” and within all.

From this viewpoint, we can claim that spiritual nature Jesus showed us as our own true nature, and that of every man, woman and child that we meet in our travels this Christmas.

There’s actually no secret to trouble-free travel. It may largely depend on how we think of ourselves and others.

 

This article was submitted by Kay Stroud who is a health writer drawing connections between consciousness, spirituality and health, and trends in that field. Blogs at www.health4thinkers.com

FOLLOW HER ON TWITTER www.twitter.com/KayJStroud

Celebrate a lasting gift that’s good for your health   Leave a comment

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“Nothing lasts forever”, so the saying goes. But often we wish people, places, or customs would stay the same. We like the familiar. It’s reassuring. Change can be upsetting. Yet when life-changes occur – especially at Christmas, it’s possible to celebrate a lasting gift that’s good for your health.

 

Change happens

Over the course of my life I’ve seen many changes – including Christmas celebrations. As a child, I’d wake to find gifts mysteriously left on my bed. My family enjoyed a traditional English roast dinner, ate hot plum pudding and sang songs about snow and sleigh-rides – even on a scorching summer’s day.

Years later, the lovingly-wrapped presents and delicious food took a back seat, as the ever-growing extended family sought to maintain contact and spend time together. Today, cultural diversity has altered the landscape of Christmas in Australia, and a more relaxed life-style has led to barbecues and family celebrations at the beach.

 

TIP:

  • To enjoy life, embrace change as it comes.
  • If loved family traditions change, or the way special events such as Christmas are celebrated, don’t be sad. Stay buoyant. Be happy.
  • Don’t focus on greeting cards, gifts or a special meal. These outward symbols come and go. It’s the  heartfelt love and caring you give to, and receive from, others that lasts.
  • Each day unwrap the gift of hopefulness, harmony and peace of mind. This leads to experiencing more good things in your life – including better health.

Changes at home

On the home-front, special occasions like Christmas, can be tinged with sadness, regret and loneliness. Loved ones may have either passed-on, or moved to places far away. These changes may try to cast a shadow over our celebrations and happy home.

TIP:

  • To overcome the stress of change on the home-scene, think about the beautiful qualities that a home represents – happiness, harmony, love, caring, security and shelter. These spiritual mind-qualities are lasting. Best of all, like the humble snail, take your sense of home with you wherever you go.
  • “Home is the dearest spot on earth, and it should be the centre, though not the boundary, of the affections.” Science and Health p. 58, Mary Baker Eddy.

Unwrap a lasting gift – hope, health, harmony

Exchanging gifts continues to be important in many cultures and faith traditions. One gift that has been remembered for centuries and celebrated every December, is the birth of Christ Jesus.  For many people, his advent unwrapped the lasting gift of hope, health, harmony and the love of a divine Father that constantly nurtures and companions everyone.

TIP:

  • Consider reading the much loved Christmas nativity story – Bible, Luke, Chapter 2. Let it comfort, inspire, encourage and strengthen you with its enduring message of hope for peace and goodwill in homes and among nations.
  • Celebrate the lasting gift of hope, health and harmony all year round. In the face of life-changes, it’s good for your health.

This article, Celebrate a lasting gift that’s good for your health, by Beverly Goldsmith was originally published on her blog site, Spirituality and Health Connect.   Beverly is a Melbourne-based health writer who provides a diversity of health content on how spirituality and thought affect health.

Christmas and the Lasting Gift of Hope, Health and Harmony   1 comment

$ dreamstime_6221417 (2)Gifts! The last dash to the shops is on as people look for the perfect gift to give to someone they love.  As the last of the wrapping paper is used and the gifts labelled and placed under the tree, there comes an opportunity for reflection.

Over the course of my life, Christmas seems to have undergone many changes. When I was a child, it used to be about waking up to gifts mysteriously left at the end of my bed. We gathered around the table to eat a full English roast dinner accompanied by steaming hot plum pudding. Then there were songs about snow, warm glowing fires, and sleigh rides. Often all of this took place on a scorching Australian summer’s day as we wiped away the perspiration from our faces. Years later, the lovingly-wrapped presents and the delicious food took a back seat as the ever-growing extended family sought to maintain contact and spend time with each other.

Fast forward to today. Cultural differences have altered the landscape of Christmas in this country. The sunshine and relaxed life-style have led to barbecues and family celebrations at the beach. On the home front, family members have passed on, others have moved to places far away. For many people it’s a lonely period – even friends can be hard to find.

With all the changes that can take place with ourselves, those we know, and the community at large, it’s tempting not to dread the festive season or want to shun it entirely. I know, because this is how I once felt. The family scene had dramatically altered. My husband and I found ourselves on our own for the first time in our lives. When it happened the next year and the next, it was hard to take. We tried inviting friends, acquaintances, and neighbours but everyone had their own plans. No one, it seemed, needed our company.

When another empty season-of-cheer loomed, I decided to take stock of what I was thinking. Did changes to people and circumstances affect the real meaning of Christmas? Did I have to receive gifts or share a special meal with family and friends to celebrate this special time? In thinking it over, I realized that material accoutrements, food and companionship are outward symbols of celebration – like sending greeting cards and singing carols. It also dawned on me that I had inadvertently substituted these symbols for the real reason I commemorate Christmas.

The birth of Christ Jesus was not the arrival of just another child into the world. His advent heralded unprecedented change for humankind. For me, his coming signalled hope for better health and bodily harmony.  Jesus’ rousing command, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” was, and still is, a radical, life-changing message. [Matthew 5:48]  It suggests that we can think of ourselves as having the gift of perfect wellness and peace of mind.

Because of Jesus’ shining example of living, I’ve learned of the enduring love of a divine Father. That Love constantly nurtures, sustains and companions us. As a result of Jesus’ teachings, countless individuals, myself included, have found comfort as well as health and healing. We’ve received the everlasting gift of harmony – the kingdom of heaven, that Jesus said we would find already within us.

While the fluctuations of human living may bring change into our experience, and try to cast a shadow over what should be a joyous time of year, they can’t alter the real reason we commemorate Christmas. Thinking about Jesus and what his life means to me in these turbulent times, inspires me to remember that he gave the lasting gift of hope, health and harmony to anyone wanting to receive it. Such a gift can be unwrapped every day. And that’s something worth remembering and celebrating all year round.

This article was originally posted on December 24, 2012 on Spirituality and Health Connect by Beverly Goldsmith. Beverly is a Melbourne-based health writer who provides a diversity of health content on how spirituality and thought affect health.

Posted December 14, 2013 by cscanberra in Beverly Goldsmith, Christmas

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