The impact of the virgin birth
As a former professional singer I enjoyed many years performing in various Christmas concerts. A particularly memorable night was when I sung the familiar carol “O Holy Night” for the city of Boston’s tree lighting ceremony. But more often than not it was Handel’s Messiah that kept me busy during the Christmas concert season.
At each performance I would joyfully sing the angel’s announcement of the birth of “a Saviour” to the shepherds watching over their flocks at night (see Luke 2:10, 11). As I sang, I had the desire that all of us in the concert hall would feel the momentous nature of that earth-shattering event. I longed to convey through the glorious music that the birth of Christ Jesus is unparalleled in human history; it was the fulfillment of the biblical prophecy: “The Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Christians throughout the world recognize the birth of Jesus as the sign of Immanuel, or “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
Christ Jesus defined himself as the Son of God, and his divine mission in this way: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16, 17). It was his spiritual origin and conscious unity with God, divine Spirit, that enabled Jesus to prove the power of Spirit in healing the sick and sinning, and restoring the dying and dead back to life. His life and example illustrate divine Love’s willingness and ability to reach humanity in every age through Christ, and through the Holy Ghost, or Comforter, which leads us into all truth.
Jesus appeared in the world through the virgin birth. It was indeed miraculous to human sense. It upended the material views of conception and life, broke through the mist of mortality, and demonstrated the spiritual laws of God that annul material law. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains: “The illumination of Mary’s spiritual sense put to silence material law and its order of generation, and brought forth her child by the revelation of Truth, demonstrating God as the Father of men. The Holy Ghost, or divine Spirit, overshadowed the pure sense of the Virgin-mother with the full recognition that being is Spirit. The Christ dwelt forever an idea in the bosom of God, the divine Principle of the man Jesus, and woman perceived this spiritual idea, though at first faintly developed” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 29).
The Holy Ghost, or divine Spirit, comes to human consciousness in every age, revealing that our origin is wholly spiritual. An understanding of this will not bring to earth another babe in the form of Jesus. Nor will it bring another virgin birth. Jesus’ holy mission has been accomplished. What Mary’s experience in the birth of Jesus illustrates for us today is that through the revelation of divine Science and of the eternal Christ-idea we see man’s true spiritual nature.
The Holy Ghost, or divine Spirit, comes to human consciousness in every age.
The materialism that seems especially prevalent at the Christmas season would dilute or obscure the healing message of the Christ. It would cloud from view the very thing the world needs most—the truth that all true being is in God, Spirit, and is therefore whole, spiritual, sinless. As children of God we are as perfect as “our Father which art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9). Though this fact is unseen to the physical senses, it is perceptible to us through spiritual sense. Spiritual sense, not material sense, recognizes God, Spirit, as the only cause and creator of life; it is by spiritual sense, therefore, that we perceive our spiritual origin as God’s reflection. Through the cultivation of our spiritual sensitivity to the divine reality of being, we are able to reject the belief that we are born into matter and must carry all the ills that go along with that belief, including genetic diseases. We see that we are not subject to laws of physiology but to the law of God, who creates and maintains His creation in perfect order. As we cherish and develop our spiritual sense, we gain a deep conviction of our indissoluble link to God; and the belief that we can be subject to disease or the transfer of disease, or of any kind of destructive element, loses power and reality in our consciousness. The true sense of existence spiritualizes consciousness by purifying our thoughts, removing fear or obsession with bodily pleasure or pain. This purification of thought has its effect on the body—just as a change in our motives changes our behavior. Mrs. Eddy defined how this occurs: “For man to know Life as it is, namely God, the eternal good, gives him not merely a sense of existence, but an accompanying consciousness of spiritual power that subordinates matter and destroys sin, disease, and death” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 189).
A woman, when in her twenties, found this to be true. She was concerned she might have an alcohol addiction like her father had suffered with throughout his life. She felt both a physical and emotional pull to drink, and she linked her possible addiction as biologically and psychologically originating from him. But in studying Christian Science she began to understand that the virgin birth of Christ Jesus defined forever our eternal link, our oneness with our Father in heaven; it showed God, Spirit, as the only creator. She appreciated more deeply the birth of Christ Jesus as proof of “divinity embracing humanity in Life and its demonstration,—reducing to human perception and understanding the Life which is God” (Science and Health, p. 561).
Mary Baker Eddy spoke of the need to gain a true understanding of man’s origin.
The woman began to feel, more than ever before, the all-embracing love of God that heals. And as she gained a better understanding of what it means to have a divine inheritance, she realized she possessed spiritual qualities such as purity, satisfaction, peace, self-discipline, goodness, health. And she reasoned that, being of divine origin, these qualities were the only true power; they naturally and effectively counteract the mortal beliefs of chemical and psychological dependency, as Jesus showed in healing what are considered hereditary diseases. This woman understood that in Jesus’ words, “I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17), he was teaching us of our own “virgin” birth—meaning our forever unity with God as His children.
Several months of consistent prayers to God included mentally identifying herself as the daughter of God and rejecting any fear or thought that she had a connection with disease. Then one day she felt completely free from the fear of addiction and its apparent pull. She did not need to exercise human willpower to resist alcohol or any other addictive substance. Her healing was a natural outcome of recognizing the truth of her spiritual origin, in which she found the conviction never to want a drink again. She identified God as her Father and was also able to tenderly know that her human father had the same relationship to God. Her healing occurred many years ago and has been permanent.
Mrs. Eddy spoke of the need to gain a true understanding of man’s origin in her “Christmas Sermon.” She said, “The secret stores of wisdom must be discovered, their treasures reproduced and given to the world, before man can truthfully conclude that he has been found in the order, mode, and virgin origin of man according to divine Science, which alone demonstrates the divine Principle and spiritual idea of being” (Miscellaneous Writings, pp. 165–166).
What the shepherds saw in Bethlehem—Jesus as a babe in a manger—we cannot see today. We do not hear the angels saying, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” The impact of his virgin birth is found in the eternal truth of spiritual being it represents for us. It is joyfully announced, hourly, and individually, in the healing of sickness, sin, and death.
First appeared as a web original on November 30, 2015.
First appeared as a web original on November 30, 2015.