I was thinking tonight about the light of Christ and the true meaning of Christmas. In Genesis it tells us that God created the light… which happens before God created man. In fact, it’s pretty much the first thing He does.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.[Genesis 1:3-4 (NKJV)
I believe that light to be the Christ idea, the Christ Truth… the light of Christ that shows us the way through the darkness.
It seems so perfect that we celebrate the light of Christ during the darkest days of the year. For those that have to go to work in an office, during this time of the shortest days and longest darkness it seems like it’s dark when you get up to go to work, and dark again by the time you wrap up your day and head home. Where is the light?!
Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, the man who demonstrated and manifested the healing power of the Christ light more than any other. And he told us to let our light shine. In fact he said,
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.Matthew 5: 14-16 (NKJV)
Each of us have, what some call the “spark of the Divine” or that Christ light within us, and when we let it shine it lights up everyone around us… I love the double meaning of light – in the sense of brightening their day, and easing their burdens and lifting a weight off.
But how do we do this? Well the Christ light, shines a light on the good… so that we can see the good all around us. It’s easy to get sucked into negative or dark thinking. And when we do, it seems like that is all we can see – negativity, pessimism, fear, doubt, discouragement, despair. But that’s not the whole picture, is it? We have a choice in what we see. But when the Christ light shines, it shows us the good that is already and always present. We can choose to see the good. Mary Baker Eddy explains that good thoughts are an “impervious armor” which naturally resist evil or negative thinking, and in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures she writes
Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p. 261:4
The Christ light illuminates the good that is already and always present. Jesus was able to see so clearly the good and true sense of people, and hold that image in thought, and this is how he was able to heal.
Mary Baker Eddy puts it this way
Jesus beheld … the perfect man… In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy.Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p. 476:32-5
And the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians,
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.2 Corinthians 4:6 (NKJV)
So we can let the light in our hearts shine this Christmas season, and see ourselves and each other in our true light, as pure and holy, created by God, Good… and this can help us magnify the good and bring healing to others.
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
As Shakespeare so eloquently put it… and so it is with curiosity.
As a professor and abroad director, I hoped to instill a sense of curiosity in my students… what I hoped for was to see a sincere desire to learn more about the world, other people and cultures and ways of life. I think the more we turn outward and learn about others, the more we can cultivate a culture of compassion and empathy… where we can see our common humanity.
However, I’ve recently noticed that curiosity can also have a negative purpose… and I’ve see this popping up over and over lately. This seems to happen when the motive behind the desire to know something isn’t inspired and then it seems to gravitate from curiosity to fascination or even obsession… This would be cast as voyeurism… or even “morbid curiosity” which an online dictionary defines as a curiosity which is so compelling that the curious person is driven to satisfy it, even though he or she knows or strongly suspects that they probably won’t like what they find, or otherwise find something which is irrelevant or unsatisfying…
I first noticed this notion of curiosity being possibly a negative in some cases from a story book I was reading my nephew called My Father’s Dragon. In the second book in the series the main characters a boy and a dragon end up on an island filled with canaries that were all “dying of curiosity” because the king canary was so sick with curiosity about an ancient secret passed down over generations… anyway, it got me wondering if there are situations where curiosity could be a bad thing…
I heard it once said, “never ask a question if you don’t really want to hear the answer”… and this may be some good advice in a way… or perhaps allow us a moment to check our motive… why do we want to know? What purpose does knowing X serve? Will it help the situation?
You may be wondering what I’m getting at, and thinking that it is always good to know more information than less… but let me give you some examples that may help illustrate my point…
Sometimes I hear friends say they want to know more about their partner’s history with past relationships. I get it, I’ve been there… but at these times, I’ve had to ask myself. Do I really want to know? Probably not… but if so, why? Will it lead me to feel better or worse about myself, about my partner, about the other person? Will it lead me to compare myself to others… and does that ever go very well? (Not usually… either we put someone else down and puff ourselves up, or put ourselves down… and either way the entire premise is off because we are often basing our view of ourselves and others not as the image of Love, a perfect, whole and complete creation of the Divine … but as a faulty human)…
In another situation, someone told me that they had gotten more details than they wanted about someone’s passing and couldn’t get the images out of their head. They said they should have stopped the flow of information, but were just so curious about it, they just let happen and now they couldn’t seem to undo it. This is tough stuff… when someone passes, it’s tempting to want what some may call the “gory details”… but do you really want that in your thought? And related to that, it’s easy to get caught up in the trauma and drama of a tragic event… we want to know why it happened? Who’s to blame? What were they thinking? What are others thinking? Why now? Why this way?
These are all examples of what I am talking about when I say that curiosity can have a negative side… I’m not saying it’s wrong… and some may say “human nature” to wonder about these things… and I am not saying that it is not good to be informed to learn from and prevent tragic events from happening in the future… that’s different.
It’s the bit where fear generally gets us spun up asking these questions… and we become consumed with fear in the asking… but in all of that… aren’t the real questions deeper than all that… aren’t we really wanting to know — am I safe? Is he/she safe? Am I loved? Are they loved? Am I worthy enough? Am I good enough? Are they? Will I be ok? Will they be ok?
I find that it is helpful when wondering “what if” it is good to pause and this about “what is”… What is true about me and my fellow man from a spiritual vantage point right now and always…Well for me that always starts with God, with Good, with Love… which I know to be all-powerful, ever-present and eternal. It begins with knowing that I (and everyone else) am created by God, Good… that I am whole and complete… that Life is truly eternal and that Love is truly ever-present… and that not one of us can ever be separated from Love or Life for a single moment. When I get present to that fact, then the questions fall away… and I feel more at peace.
I find the “what ifs” keep us in the past or the future… and to find a sense of peace and the answer to those deeper questions… it’s helpful to stay in the present… in the eternal now… and declare that Love is present and powerful and wrapping us up and keeping us safe and whole. Paul states in Second Corinthians “For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
 2 Cor 6:2 – New International Version Bible
To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings.
I love digging into words and pulling apart sentences with definitions to get at a deeper meaning. I set about to start rereading and studying one of my favorite books by revolutionary feminist author, Mary Baker Eddy – Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. But because of my love of words, etymology and looking for the deeper meaning, I literally have not gotten past the first sentence of the Preface… “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings.” (It’s going to be a long read if I do this with every sentence!!!)… This is an amazingly packed sentence, and really draws you into the book… and my findings were helpful to my study, so I thought I’d share.
I will also note that I almost didn’t look up the word “big”… because of course I know what it means, as I generally know what all these words mean… but that is what I love, is finding all the variety of ways to define a word and applying them to the other words in the sentence to see all the implications, applications and meanings that are possible…
Here are the words I’m working with …
- LEAN –
- to rest against or on
- to rely or depend on/upon
- SUSTAINING –
- to support, hold or bear up
- to keep, to keep up or keep going
- to supply with food, drink and other necessities of life
- to provide for
- to support or uphold (as valid, just or correct)
- to confirm or corroborate
- INFINITE –
- immeasurably, indefinitely, or exceedingly great
- unlimited, unbounded, boundless, endless
- TODAY –
- this present day
- this present time, age or era
- BIG –
- large as in height, width, amount
- of major concern, importance, gravity
- outstanding for a specified quality
- important, as in influence, standing or wealth
- grown up, mature
- magnanimous, generous, kindly
- filled, brimming
- having more than average flavor, body
- loud, orotund (characterized by strength, fullness, richness and clearness)
- with great success
- BLESSINGS –
- the acts or words of a person who blesses
- a special favor, mercy or benefit
- a favor or gift bestowed by God
- praise, devotion, worship
- approval or good wishes
So we could say…
To those who are willing to rest upon, rely and depend upon the boundless, unlimited, endless supply, support and provision of all that is needed, all that validates and confirms our who we are as our true, perfect selves… they will find that this present moment, this time and age, this day… is filled, brimming with large amounts of mercy, goodness, approval, kindly and generously bestowed…
What a great thought … what are you leaning on today?
“Pure and simple and nothing else…” that is what came up at the very bottom of the definition when I clicked “Look up” on the word “pure” in something I was reading on my iPad. I love that idea!
Pure and simple joy
Pure and simple love
Pure and simple truth
And the list goes on… the applications are endless! I love the idea of simplicity combined with purity… our human lives at times seem so hectic and complicated… there seems to be so much drama in the world today. From politics, to relationships, to TV shows, to tweets, to global issues and challenges… there seems to be no end of complications and drama. But in the one true, pure, honest relationship – our individual (and collective) relationship with God, with Divine Love… there is no drama, there is nothing complicated… it is as simple as it is profound. We are the loved of Love.
In looking up the work pure (and purity)… I also found it means – innocence, cleanness, quality, clear, true… spotless, untainted… being that and nothing else…
It means independent of sense of experience – as in pure knowledge.
And it means absolute, utter, sheer – as in pure joy! Pure or sheer joy… like that of a young child playing or dancing …or a puppy frolicking or rolling in the grass… isn’t that the kind of uncomplicated joy we all truly want? Or pure love… untainted and uncomplicated… simple, yet profound… unconditional…
There was a time when I would bristle at the term “purity”… or at least the way that I perceived it being used by religious institutions. When I was younger, it seemed like being pure meant on the one-hand – boring – without the flavor of experience. It seemed like a term for “goodie-two-shoes”… not someone who really wanted to live and experience life to the fullest… experiment and try new things… Or it was for those that were holier-than-thou and filled with self-righteous judgement of others, and it seemed that if you strayed from a life of purity, you should feel shame and guilt… as if you were unredeemable… and a bad __X__ (fill in the religion of your choice). That certainly doesn’t sound simple… but filled with complicated drama.
When I recently dug a bit further and looked up the terms “purity” and “pure” in my Dictionary.com app … and what I found was interesting… some of the many definitions start with the word “freedom”… I found that interesting because I think in the past, a lot of what I was seeking through experimenting with things that may be considered part of an “impure” lifestyle was a sense of freedom… freeing my mind and body… freedom from the shackles and constraints of what I “should” be doing… or from societal expectations and pressures… or an escape from the burdens weighing down my thought, putting them on hold or pausing them by filling my experience with other things that made it possible to forget or ignore them and even world around me… or the dark thoughts I would sometimes have… I mean when you read the news, there is a lot of trauma and drama in the world, let alone in my little life… and sometimes you just need to drown that out a bit… or at least that’s what I thought at the time.
I’ve found other ways to deal with these things in the many years since then, by finding a deeper connection to the Divine which brought healing and a strong sense of security.… but I still struggled with the idea of purity, in part because of my past and thinking that I was not “redeemable”… or at the very least I was judged…
So back to these definitions of “purity” and “pure”… and the fact that it’s about freedom… I made a list from these definitions… freedom from:
- Foreign elements
- Anything that debases
- Anything inferior
- Extraneous matter
- Anything that tarnishes or taints
- Discordant qualities
Wow! Well, I do want freedom from those things! Freedom from guilt, discord, blemish or taint… that would be great! And it IS great! I strive for this each day and have found so much freedom in growing and digging deeper into a more spiritual sense of joy, freedom and purity.
These ideas have given me a lot of food for thought about where I do see and desire purity in my life… pure joy… pure love… pure goodness… that sounds lovely… simple… uncomplicated… and without judgement… With that child-like freedom to find joy in the simple things… I’ve found to be a truer, deeper, lasting and more satisfying and fulfilling joy… much more so than the temporary happiness I may find in complicate or dramatic elements… or finding an escape from it all… instead I seek out that pure and simply joy… in watching the hummingbirds flutter about the flowers and veggie plans on my porch, dog walks in the woods, cooking for family and friends, sitting quietly by the lake and communing with Spirit, reading a children’s story to my nephew… Maybe it sounds Polyana-ish to some, but basking in pure and simple, spiritual love and joy can bring healing and allows us to break free of drama and love our neighbors.
That is the life I am already leading… because I learned that redemption is always possible… and it we are always able to claim our innocence and purity as God’s beloved child in whom He is well-pleased, because that is an unchanging fact. Just as the moment the prodigal son turned from his life and came back to his father seeking forgiveness… the father ran to meet him and embraced him… and he was instantly redeemed by that fatherly love. That is true for any and all of us… we can find that sense of freedom…
And we can all rejoice in a life that is filled with pure and simple love, joy, goodness… if we are willing to seek out the good… “pure and simple and nothing else.”
 Matt 3:17, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22 – speaks of Jesus as his Son in whom He is well-pleased, but I believe this applies to each and every one of us as God’s sons and daughters… the children of God
 Luke 15:11 – 32