Chapter 13 — Christmas

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1     EARLY CHIMES, DECEMBER, 1898


       BEFORE the Christmas bells shall ring, allow me
3     to improvise some new notes, not specially musi-
       cal to be sure, but admirably adapted to the key of my
       feeling and emphatically phrasing strict observance or
6     note well.

       This year, my beloved Christian Scientists, you must
       grant me my request that I be permitted total exemption
9     from Christmas gifts. Also I beg to send to you all a
       deep-drawn, heartfelt breath of thanks for those things
       of beauty and use forming themselves in your thoughts
12    to send to your Leader. Thus may I close the door of
       mind on this subject, and open the volume of Life on
       the pure pages of impersonal presents, pleasures, achieve-
15    ments, and aid.



       CHRISTMAS, 1900


       Again loved Christmas is here, full of divine benedic-
18    tions and crowned with the dearest memories in human
       history — the earthly advent and nativity of our Lord
       and Master. At this happy season the veil of time
21    springs aside at the touch of Love. We count our bless-
       ings and see whence they came and whither they tend.
       Parents call home their loved ones, the Yule-fires burn,
24    the festive boards are spread, the gifts glow in the dark


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1     green branches of the Christmas-tree. But alas for the
       broken household band! God give to them more of
3     His dear love that heals the wounded heart.

       To-day the watchful shepherd shouts his welcome over
       the new cradle of an old truth. This truth has traversed
6     night, through gloom to glory, from cradle to crown. To
       the awakened consciousness, the Bethlehem babe has left
       his swaddling-clothes (material environments) for the
9     form and comeliness of the divine ideal, which has passed
       from a corporeal to the spiritual sense of Christ and is
       winning the heart of humanity with ineffable tenderness.
12    The Christ is speaking for himself and for his mother,
       Christ’s heavenly origin and aim. To-day the Christ is,
       more than ever before, “the way, the truth, and the
15    life,” — “which lighteth every man that cometh into the
       world,” healing all sorrow, sickness, and sin. To this
       auspicious Christmastide, which hallows the close of the
18    nineteenth century, our hearts are kneeling humbly. We
       own his grace, reviving and healing. At this immortal
       hour, all human hate, pride, greed, lust should bow and
21    declare Christ’s power, and the reign of Truth and Life
       divine should make man’s being pure and blest.



       CHRISTMAS GIFTS


24    Beloved Students: — For your manifold Christmas memo-
       rials, too numerous to name, I group you in one benison
       and send you my Christmas gift, two words enwrapped,
27    — love and thanks.

       To-day Christian Scientists have their record in the
       monarch’s palace, the Alpine hamlet, the Christian trav-
30    eller’s resting-place. Wherever the child looks up in


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1     prayer, or the Book of Life is loved, there the sinner is
       reformed and the sick are healed. Those are the “signs
3     following.” What is it that lifts a system of religion to
       deserved fame? Nothing is worthy the name of religion
       save one lowly offering — love.

6     This period, so fraught with opposites, seems illumi-
       nated for woman’s hope with divine light. It bids her
       bind the tenderest tendril of the heart to all of holiest
9     worth. To the woman at the sepulchre, bowed in strong
       affection’s anguish, one word, “Mary,” broke the gloom
       with Christ’s all-conquering love. Then came her resurrec-
12    tion and task of glory, to know and to do God’s will, —
       in the words of St. Paul: “Looking unto Jesus the author
       and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set be-
15    fore him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is
       set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

       The memory of the Bethlehem babe bears to mortals
18    gifts greater than those of Magian kings, — hopes that
       cannot deceive, that waken prophecy, gleams of glory,
       coronals of meekness, diadems of love. Nor should they
21    who drink their Master’s cup repine over blossoms that
       mock their hope and friends that forsake. Divinely
       beautiful are the Christmas memories of him who sounded
24    all depths of love, grief, death, and humanity.

       To the dear children let me say: Your Christmas gifts
       are hallowed by our Lord’s blessing. A transmitted
27    charm rests on them. May this consciousness of God’s
       dear love for you give you the might of love, and may
       you move onward and upward, lowly in its majesty.

30    To the children who sent me that beautiful statuette
       in alabaster — a child with finger on her lip reading a book
       — I write: Fancy yourselves with me; take a peep into


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1     my studio; look again at your gift, and you will see the
       sweetest sculptured face and form conceivable, mounted
3     on its pedestal between my bow windows, and on either
       side lace and flowers. I have named it my white student.
       From First Church of Christ, Scientist, in London,
6     Great Britain, I received the following cabled message: —


       REV. MRS. EDDY, PLEASANT VIEW,
       Concord, N. H.

9     Loving, grateful Christmas greetings from members
       London, England, church.

       December 24, 1901


12    To this church across the sea I return my heart’s wire-
       less love. All our dear churches’ Christmas telegrams to
       me are refreshing and most pleasing Christmas presents,
15    for they require less attention than packages and give me
       more time to think and work for others. I hope that in
       1902 the churches will remember me only thus. Do not
18    forget that an honest, wise zeal, a lowly, triumphant
       trust, a true heart, and a helping hand constitute man,
       and nothing less is man or woman.



21                          [New York World]


       THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CHRISTMAS


       Certain occasions, considered either collectively or
24    individually and observed properly, tend to give the
       activity of man infinite scope; but mere merry-making
       or needless gift-giving is not that in which human capac-
27    ities find the most appropriate and proper exercise.
       Christmas respects the Christ too much to submerge
       itself in merely temporary means and ends. It represents
30    the eternal informing Soul recognized only in harmony,


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1     in the beauty and bounty of Life everlasting, — in the
       truth that is Life, the Life that heals and saves man-
3     kind. An eternal Christmas would make matter an alien
       save as phenomenon, and matter would reverentially
       withdraw itself before Mind. The despotism of material
6     sense or the flesh would flee before such reality, to make
       room for substance, and the shadow of frivolity and the
       inaccuracy of material sense would disappear.

9     In Christian Science, Christmas stands for the real, the
       absolute and eternal, — for the things of Spirit, not of mat-
       ter. Science is divine; it hath no partnership with human
12    means and ends, no half-way stations. Nothing condi-
       tional or material belongs to it. Human reason and phi-
       losophy may pursue paths devious, the line of liquids, the
15    lure of gold, the doubtful sense that falls short of sub-
       stance, the things hoped for and the evidence unseen.

       The basis of Christmas is the rock, Christ Jesus; its
18    fruits are inspiration and spiritual understanding of joy
       and rejoicing, — not because of tradition, usage, or cor-
       poreal pleasures, but because of fundamental and de-
21    monstrable truth, because of the heaven within us. The
       basis of Christmas is love loving its enemies, returning
       good for evil, love that “suffereth long, and is kind.” The
24    true spirit of Christmas elevates medicine to Mind; it
       casts out evils, heals the sick, raises the dormant facul-
       ties, appeals to all conditions, and supplies every need of
27    man. It leaves hygiene, medicine, ethics, and religion
       to God and His Christ, to that which is the Way, in word
       and in deed, — the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

30    There is but one Jesus Christ on record. Christ is
       incorporeal. Neither the you nor the I in the flesh can
       be or is Christ.


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       CHRISTMAS FOR THE CHILDREN


       Methinks the loving parents and guardians of youth
3     ofttimes query: How shall we cheer the children’s Christ-
       mas and profit them withal? The wisdom of their elders,
       who seek wisdom of God, seems to have amply provided
6     for this, according to the custom of the age and to the full
       supply of juvenile joy. Let it continue thus with one
       exception: the children should not be taught to believe
9     that Santa Claus has aught to do with this pastime. A
       deceit or falsehood is never wise. Too much cannot be
       done towards guarding and guiding well the germinating
12    and inclining thought of childhood. To mould aright
       the first impressions of innocence, aids in perpetu-
       ating purity and in unfolding the immortal model, man
15    in His image and likeness. St. Paul wrote, “When I
       was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a
       child, . . . but when I became a man, I put away
18    childish things.”

       PLEASANT VIEW, CONCORD, N. H.,
       December 28, 1905


21                          [Ladies’ Home Journal]



       WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME


       To me Christmas involves an open secret, understood
24    by few — or by none — and unutterable except in Chris-
       tian Science. Christ was not born of the flesh. Christ
       is the Truth and Life born of God — born of Spirit and
27    not of matter. Jesus, the Galilean Prophet, was born
       of the Virgin Mary’s spiritual thoughts of Life and its
       manifestation.


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1     God creates man perfect and eternal in His own image.
       Hence man is the image, idea, or likeness of perfection
3     — an ideal which cannot fall from its inherent unity
       with divine Love, from its spotless purity and original
       perfection.

6     Observed by material sense, Christmas commemorates
       the birth of a human, material, mortal babe — a babe
       born in a manger amidst the flocks and herds of a Jewish
9     village.

       This homely origin of the babe Jesus falls far short
       of my sense of the eternal Christ, Truth, never born and
12    never dying. I celebrate Christmas with my soul, my
       spiritual sense, and so commemorate the entrance into
       human understanding of the Christ conceived of Spirit,
15    of God and not of a woman—as the birth of Truth, the
       dawn of divine Love breaking upon the gloom of matter
       and evil with the glory of infinite being.

18    Human doctrines or hypotheses or vague human phi-
       losophy afford little divine effulgence, deific presence or
       power. Christmas to me is the reminder of God’s great
21    gift, — His spiritual idea, man and the universe, —
       a gift which so transcends mortal, material, sensual giv-
       ing that the merriment, mad ambition, rivalry, and
24    ritual of our common Christmas seem a human mock-
       ery in mimicry of the real worship in commemoration
       of Christ’s coming.

27    I love to observe Christmas in quietude, humility,
       benevolence, charity, letting good will towards man, elo-
       quent silence, prayer, and praise express my conception
30    of Truth’s appearing.

       The splendor of this nativity of Christ reveals infinite
       meanings and gives manifold blessings. Material gifts


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1     and pastimes tend to obliterate the spiritual idea in con-
       sciousness, leaving one alone and without His glory.



       MRS. EDDY’S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE


       MY HOUSEHOLD


       Beloved: — A word to the wise is sufficient. Mother
6     wishes you all a happy Christmas, a feast of Soul and a
       famine of sense.

       Lovingly thine,
9                            MARY BAKER EDDY

       BOX G, BROOKLINE, MASS.,
       December 25, 1909




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Love is the liberator.