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Christmas and "Ichabod" thinking
In Calvin C. Hill’s reminiscence about Mary Baker Eddy there is a touching story about her finding “sermons in stones.” Hill writes of a time when Mrs. Eddy was feeling discouraged, and of how a rubber band fallen into the shape of a heart reminded her of God’s infinite love for her (see We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Expanded Edition, p. 332). I can’t count how many times I, too, have found my answers coming from the most unexpected avenues.
During the holiday season last year I was feeling discouraged and unhappy. I reached out in a simple prayer to God for an answer that would “lift the shade of gloom” (Mary Baker Eddy,Christian Science Hymnal, No. 298) that had fallen over me. A few minutes later, as I was walking by the TV, I felt led to turn it on. It was a religious program, and the first thing I heard was a man asking, “Are you feeling dejected, unhappy, discouraged?” Of course that caught my attention, and then he answered it with “Well, you have the Ichabod thinking.”
Now, that really enticed me to continue to listen, as the only Ichabod I knew was from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and I was sure he was not talking about that Halloween story. The man went on to explain that in the fourth chapter of First Samuel in the Bible there’s the story of a battle between the Philistines and the Israelites. A woman, who was about to give birth, had lost her husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law in this battle—but the most devastating part to her was that the Philistines had stolen the ark of the covenant, which the Israelites believed was where God resided. When her son was born, she named him Ichabod, which means “the glory is departed from Israel” (I Samuel 4:21). She felt the glory had departed from Israel because the ark had been taken away.