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The quiet gift

From the December 12, 2016 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


An angel message to a reverent virgin. An amazingly bright star. A Savior’s birth being revealed to shepherds in a field at night. This is how God’s gift of His Son to the world came to receptive hearts—so very quietly. 

In that same powerfully quiet way, the Christ message of God’s universal love and care for each one of His children came to individuals through Christ Jesus’ ministry. And that’s the way the Christ message comes to receptive hearts and minds today; it silently reaches into the deepest recesses of individual human consciousness and ministers to our conscious, and even unrecognized, longings—to bring healing and redemption to us. 

In her book on the divine Science of the Christ, Mary Baker Eddy explains: “Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness. The Christ is incorporeal, spiritual,—yea, the divine image and likeness, dispelling the illusions of the senses; the Way, the Truth, and the Life, healing the sick and casting out evils, destroying sin, disease, and death” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 332). 

Of all the gifts we may wish to receive or give this Christmas, God’s gift of the Christ, Truth, is the one gift every person can receive—and share. But to receive this gift, we need to silence within ourselves any tendency to stubbornly hold on to a personal, mortal view of things. When Jesus confronted such unreceptivity to the quiet, reformative message of the Christ, he often used strong words and actions to rebuke it. What we need, in order to welcome the Christ, is to get ourselves into a humble mental mode, turn a deaf ear to the constant clamor of human concerns vying for our attention, admit to ourselves that we simply don’t know how to figure everything out on our own, and open our hearts and minds to the quiet, healing message of the Christ. 

Jesus once extended an invitation to receive this gift because it would bring us rest. He said, referring to the Christ message he represented, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Who doesn’t yearn for a quiet, restful thought as a relief from worries, fear, or suffering? In my experience, allowing myself to humbly accept that invitation—by settling into a receptive, prayerful attention to the restful, spiritual ideas Christ imparts—can result in a kind of rebirth. An inspiring idea will come that I’ve never thought of before, or only thought of intellectually, and suddenly I feel a fresh wave of newness come over me—a way of thinking I could never come to through mere human effort. It’s a quiet awakening, accompanied by a cleansing, purifying feeling coursing through me—a feeling of being born anew that results in new energy, joy, productive activity, and healing.

God’s gift of the Christ, Truth, is the one gift every person can receive—and share.

What a gift that is! And it’s a gift we can give to others, through expressing in our hearts and actions toward them, the compassion and love we feel from the Christ. And the more we give it, the more rest and comfort and healing we ourselves receive—along with many more rebirths. As Mrs. Eddy notes, “This spiritual birth opens to the enraptured understanding a much higher and holier conception of the supremacy of Spirit, and of man as His likeness, whereby man reflects the divine power to heal the sick” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 17). The gift of spiritual reflection that comes so silently to us through receiving the Christ, Truth, into our consciousness—and the new birth it brings—may be a very quiet gift, but the healing power it wields is wonderfully powerful; it is the reforming power of God, good.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the early Christians at Corinth, he reminded them of comfort that had come to them through God’s gift to them of the Christ, and of the importance of sharing this gift with others so that they, too, might experience the rest, comfort, rebirth, and healing Christ brings. He wrote: “Thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he is our Father and the source of all mercy and comfort. For he gives us comfort in all our trials so that we in turn may be able to give the same sort of strong sympathy to others in their troubles that we receive from God” (II Corinthians 1:3, 4, J. B. Phillips, The New Testament in Modern English).

Can you think of a more meaningful gift each one of us can receive and give this Christmas and every day than the gift of Christ that comes so silently into consciousness with comfort and healing? 

Here’s a poem by A. E. Hamilton that Mrs. Eddy included on page 95 of her book Retrospection and Introspection that shows us how to open our hearts and minds to receive and give the quiet and powerful gift of Christ: 

Ask God to give thee skill
      In comfort’s art:
That thou may’st consecrated be 
      And set apart
   Unto a life of sympathy.
For heavy is the weight of ill 
      In every heart;
And comforters are needed much
      Of Christlike touch.

Whether we are totally alone, gathered with family or friends, or helping at a soup kitchen on Christmas Day—or any other day—we can make room for the Christ to enter into our mental space and gift us with inspiration and new birth. And we can give this gift to others through the Christly love and prayers with which we embrace them. The blessings will multiply—quietly, and powerfully.

Barbara Vining

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