This morning while driving to an early meeting I was listening to a program on NPR. The topic was having a “no gift Christmas.” — the basic idea is that people have enough stuff and maybe the gift of time or presence is worth considering. I didn’t hear the end of the program, but the idea kept coming back to me…what was I giving this Christmas?
It also reminded me of a recent conversation with a friend. We were talking about Santa. She said,
“I think he helps people hold on to the idea of doing good and being kind, and keeping a childlike sense of joy around the holiday…isn’t that what religion tries to teach people? That if we all have more human kindness the world will be better.”
I agreed the world could use all the kindness we could share, but I told her that my sense of God and Christmas was much bigger than that, and that I had too many beautiful answered prayers to see religion as just a nice idea expressed between people. And the more I think about it, the more I am confident this is the gift of Christmas – Celebrating Jesus birth reminds us that we are welcome in the kingdom of heaven.
Walking into the kingdom of heaven may seem impossible, but that really is what we are doing when we express God’s love and put our trust fully in him.
This past summer a BMX race presented me with a real “walking (biking) in the light of God” moment. (Hymn 592) I was riding in the third moto of a race and had been doing pretty well that night, so I decided to really open it up…next thing I know I’m flying over my handlebars… I would love to say that I prayed and landed softly end of story…however, that it not what happened. I was well enough to walk off the track, but my shoulder really hurt and I spent the better part of the next three days complaining and hurting. On the third day we left for family trip in our camper van, and by that night I was in tears from pain. As I lay trying to sleep, I thought “I’m just giving up. This is so bad.” And this is the response I head’
”So that’s it your just going to die? here in Glendo WY? With all the proof of care you’ve had?”
Of course I realized I needed to listen to this angel who knew me so well; who knew how to shake off the self pity I had so thoroughly wrapped myself in. I finally, really reached out to God. I said the daily prayer out loud… I really meant each word. I realized I had been self condemning, self counseling and self influencing erroneously (Daily Prayer Manual pg 41:19). I thanked God for loving me enough to wake me up and I slept well the rest of the night. After that, because I was alert and armed with the gift of Truth, the healing came steadily.
This is the kind of gift I want to celebrate this Christmas. I want to remember the birth of Jesus as the gift of God keeping his promises. As God waking the shepherds to see the light of Truth. And as God showing the wise-men to humbly search for the healing message of Love.
This blog was written by Marta Olson-Rangitsch. She has been the Christian Science nurse at Crystal Lake Camps for several summers, and now serves as the CS Committee on Publication for South Dakota.