Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Why a Manger?   Leave a comment

A Daily Lift by Brian Webster

In this 3 minute podcast Brian comments that a manger is perhaps the most humble resting place for the child that was heralded as the Messiah that could be imagined. This, he says, is an example to us that if we are to draw close to God we too must be humble – humble enough to put aside our own wishes and listen to the divine message.

Click here to read or listen to the full article, Why a Manger?, by Brian published in the December 13 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

A new 3 minute inspirational talk is shared each day Monday-Friday. To listen to more click on the Daily Lift tab in the menu above.

Real Christmas – All About Love   Leave a comment

Christmas is one of the most important events in human history.  That’s a big statement to make. It’s a big statement because the real Christmas relates to Christians, Muslims, Eastern and Western religionists, believers and non-believers.  The real Christmas message is relevant all year round, not just on one day.  So, what’s so big and important and relevant about Christmas?

It’s all about the underlying message that Jesus’ birth ushered into the world.  Yes, the details of the story are important. That whilst Joseph and Mary were travelling she gave birth to Jesus in a stable (which was actually a cave rather than a barn).  His birth had been long prophesied – he was the one who would save the Jewish people from oppression.  But it’s the underlying message that’s of the greatest importance, both then and today.  It’s important because Jesus’ birth was the beginning of a life lived with such love and dominion that it transformed the experience of the people around him, and its legacy is still felt and celebrated over 2000 years later.

Jesus’ mission was to show us what makes life work right for us.  Maybe that doesn’t sound like such a big statement but look at the effect he had on the people around him. He turned poverty into overflowing abundance; ill health into full health; bad sinful behaviour into good honest character.  His life was entirely motivated by love – love for God and love for his fellow man.

Jesus was revealing a different dynamic aspect to life that was not obvious to the senses but one that could bring practical healing solutions to life’s problems. He understood the tangible power of spirituality.

What is spirituality?  Simply, spirituality pertains to things of the spirit, or the non-physical.  It’s all those qualities of thought that are good and true. It’s ideas that make life work right for us, like kindness, honesty, trustworthiness, intelligence, creativity, happiness.  

Spiritual thinking cares for all, never harming man nor beast nor the environment.  It’s living the Golden Rule, the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes that Jesus, Moses and others have given us.  These rules, when understood and lived, make our lives happy and successful.  But here’s the big difference in Jesus’ message to us.  If we think these are human qualities they are liable to human frailty and failure.  Jesus showed us that these spiritual ideas and qualities have a divine source, not human.  They’re sourced in God and so have divine authority and power.

The principle that Jesus continually turned to was divine, not material.  He revealed to the world a non-physical power; a spiritual force for good, that could and did meet all human need.  He revealed to us that the true governing harmonising power underpinning our experience was God, but he showed us an entirely different way of thinking about that term God.  He showed that the true concept of God was Love, as the Bible states.  He showed us the true power or Principle in our lives and in our world, that makes existence harmonious, well and peaceful, is Love, divine Love.

At Christmas, and all year round, don’t we all know, Christian, Muslim, Eastern, Western, believer and non-believer, that it is Love that makes the world go around.  It’s Love that makes life worth living, it is Love and only Love that can bring ‘on earth peace, good will to men.’

This article was contributed by Beth Packer a member of the Christian Science Church in Wollongong.  You can study these ideas in depth in the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.  You would be most welcome to attend our services (details are at the top of this page.)

Christmas Presents Recovered   Leave a comment

The members of the Christian Science community in Canberra share their experiences and thoughts on Christian Science:

Christmas in Canberra is typically hot and dry, and this day—two days after the holiday—was a particularly hot one. Our son, 13 years old at the time, asked if we could drop him and his friend at the public swimming pool in town. My husband and I needed to do some grocery shopping, so we agreed to drop the boys off and pick them up in a couple of hours when we had finished. Both boys were confident swimmers, and we knew the pool was well supervised.

When we returned my husband ran in to collect the boys.  I watched them walk across the carpark towards the car.  The friend was dressed and carrying his sports bag. Our son wore only his swimmers; he did not have his bag, and he looked particularly dejected. He explained that he had rented a locker for his gear, but when he returned, he’d found his locker empty. Each locker has a separate code that is created afresh each time it is rented, which seemed a particularly safe system. I asked him what he’d had in his bag.

This Christmas had promised to be quite a lean one for us. My husband was between jobs, and although we usually don’t make a big deal of Christmas presents, this year all our son’s presents were of a practical nature since he would start high school in February. His grandparents had given him cash so he would have spending money for the summer break and outings at school; someone else had given him a new watch; someone else a wallet. A swimming towel, new joggers, sports bag, new summer clothes—all came as presents from the family. All his needs had been met, and he was thrilled with the generosity that had been shown. In his enthusiasm, our son had put all his gifts into his new sports bag and had even worn his new shorts and T-shirt to the pool. All now appeared to be gone.

My husband explained that he had had a conversation with the pool manager. The manager had concluded that the only way someone could have gained access to the locker was if they deliberately stood behind him and watched when he entered the code. My husband had offered to come back in the morning to see if the bag had been handed in, but the manager insisted that my husband should consider it gone.

It was a quiet trip home, but this gave me plenty of praying time.

My first thought was that it was too late to pray; that the bag was gone. Immediately, I realized that this line of thinking contained a number of errors. I reasoned that God never made a human timeline; with God there is only ever the infinite now. It was my duty to deal with whatever thoughts were being presented to me now. And, in fact, that is all I can ever do! Right now if the thought is coming that an injustice has been done to my family or me, then now is the time to deal with it. It is never too late to pray.

The next thought that came was one of indignation that someone could do this unkind thing to our son. Again I was alert and challenged this negative thought. I stood firm with the conviction that God’s man is honest, principled, kind.

A third and subtler suggestion intruded on my thought. I found I was beginning to add up the dollar value of the goods in the bag and feeling great concern about how we would be able to replace them before school started in a few weeks. But then I recognised that God is our source of supply—in fact, our source of all good. His abundance never runs out. I left off adding up the cost, knowing that with God, “My cup runneth over” (Psalms 23:5).

With these thoughts I felt peaceful.  I relaxed in God’s love, knowing that He was in control. The next morning, my husband announced that he was going back to the pool to check whether the bag had turned up. Our son went with him.

An hour later, two smiling faces arrived home. They explained that the manager had found the bag—to his great surprise—at the end of the day in one of the cubicles in the girls’ change room. On checking they found that nothing was missing. The wallet still contained all the Christmas gift money! Our son said that the manager kept saying that it was a mystery that someone would steal the bag and then just leave it intact.

This experience helped me to see more clearly that we are only ever dealing with thought.  Our thoughts and our beliefs determine our experience.  Mary Baker Eddy cautions us in the textbook of Christian Science to “Stand porter at the door of thought” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p. 392).

She also writes, “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). This experience allowed me to demonstrate the eternal truth of this statement. I am infinitely grateful for all that I am learning through Christian Science.

The Promise of Christmas   Leave a comment

.

O peace of the world, O hope in each breast,
O Bethlehem star that ages have blest,
A day of fresh promise breaks over the land,
Gaunt warfare is doomed, and God’s kingdom at hand!

(Christian Science Hymnal 236 by Irving C Tomlinson)

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.

 

IMG_3875

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.

 

IMG_3716

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.

 

Version 2

 

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 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

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

Tagged with

%d bloggers like this: