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EARLY CHIMES, DECEMBER, 1898

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

     This year, my beloved Christian Scientists, you must grant me my request that I be permitted total exemption 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 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, achievements, and aid. (Eddy, Mary Baker, Miscellany, p.256:1-15)

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CHRISTMAS, 1900

     Again loved Christmas is here, full of divine benedictions 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 springs aside at the touch of Love. We count our blessings and see whence they came and whither they tend. Parents call home their loved ones, the Yule-fires burn, the festive boards are spread, the gifts glow in the dark green branches of the Christmas- tree. But alas for the broken household band! God give to them more of 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 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 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. 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 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 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 declare Christ’s power, and the reign of Truth and Life divine should make man’s being pure and blest. (Eddy, Mary Baker, Miscellany, p.256:16-22 next page)

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CHRISTMAS GIFTS

     Beloved Students: For your manifold Christmas memorials, too numerous to name, I group you in one benison and send you my Christmas gift, two words enwrapped, -love and thanks. To-day Christian Scientists have their record in the monarch’s palace, the Alpine hamlet, the Christian traveler’s resting-­place. Wherever the child looks up in prayer, or the Book of Life is loved, there the sinner is reformed and the sick are healed. Those are the “signs 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.

     This period, so fraught with opposites, seems illuminated for woman’s hope with divine light. It bids her bind the tenderest tendril of the heart to all of holiest 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 resurrection 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 before 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 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 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 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 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.

     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 my studio; look again at your gift, and you will see the sweetest sculptured face and form conceivable, mounted 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, Great Britain, I received the following cabled message: –

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

Loving, grateful Christmas greetings from members London, England, church. December 24, 1901

     To this church across the sea I return my heart’s wireless love. All our dear churches’ Christmas telegrams to me are refreshing and most pleasing Christmas presents, 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 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. (Eddy, Mary Baker, Miscellany, p.257:23-259:20)

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THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CHRISTMAS

     Certain occasions, considered either collectively or individually and observed properly, tend to give the activity of man infinite scope; but mere merry-making or needless gift­giving is not that in which human capacities find the most appropriate and proper exercise. Christmas respects the Christ too much to submerge itself in merely temporary means and ends. It represents the eternal informing Soul recognized only in harmony, in the beauty and bounty of Life everlasting, – in the truth that is Life, the Life that heals and saves mankind. An eternal Christmas would make matter an alien save as phenomenon, and matter would reverentially withdraw itself before Mind. The despotism of material 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.

     In Christian Science, Christmas stands for the real, the absolute and eternal, – for the things of Spirit, not of matter. Science is divine; it hath no partnership with human means and ends, no half-way stations. Nothing conditional or material belongs to it. Human reason and philosophy may pursue paths devious, the line of liquids, the lure of gold, the doubtful sense that falls short of substance, the things hoped for and the evidence unseen.

     The basis of Christmas is the rock, Christ Jesus; its fruits are inspiration and spiritual understanding of joy and rejoicing, – not because of tradition, usage, or corporeal pleasures, but because of fundamental and demonstrable 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 true spirit of Christmas elevates medicine to Mind; it casts out evils, heals the sick, raises the dormant faculties, appeals to all conditions, and supplies every need of 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.

     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. (Eddy, Mary Baker, Miscellany, p.259:21-32 next page)

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CHRISTMAS FOR THE CHILDREN

Methinks the loving parents and guardians of youth ofttimes query: How shall we cheer the children’s Christmas and profit them withal? The wisdom of their elders, who seek wisdom of God, seems to have amply provided 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 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 and inclining thought of childhood. To mould aright the first impressions of innocence, aids in perpetuating purity and in unfolding the immortal model, man 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 childish things.”

Pleasant View, Concord, N. H., December 28, 1905

(Eddy, Mary Baker, Miscellany, p.261:1-20)

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MRS. EDDY’S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

MY HOUSEHOLD

Beloved: A word to the wise is sufficient. Mother wishes you all a happy Christmas, a feast of Soul and a famine of sense. Lovingly thine, MARY BAKER EDDY

Box G, Brookline, Mass., December 25, 1909

(Eddy, Mary Baker, Miscellany, p.263:3-11)

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My Beloved Brethren: My heart greets you with Christmas joy. Continue, fellow-worshippers, vigilant in that whereto God calleth thee. Unity imparts the spirit of the trinity. Opinions of men are not substitutes for Science. Be patient with misjudgement. Christ Truth overcometh error. Today is tomorrow understood. Love maketh right prosperous. Pure hearts and clean hands upbuild the cause Church of Christ, Scientist. Have one God; live in conformity therewith, obedient thereto, governed thereby. With love, Mother

(Mary Baker Eddy (Grekel, Doris, The Founding of Christian Science, p.373)

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PRINCIPLE OR PERSON?  

            Do Christian Scientists love God as much as they love mankind? Aye, that’s the question. Let us examine it for ourselves. Thinking of person implies that one is not thinking of Principle, and fifty telegrams per holiday signalize the thinking of person. Are the holidays blest by absorbing one’s time writing or reading congratulations?  I cannot watch and pray while reading telegrams; they only cloud the clear sky, and they give the appearance of personal worship which Christian Science annuls. Did the dear students know how much I love them, and how I need every hour wherein to express this love in labor for them, they would gladly give me the holidays for this work and not task themselves with mistaken means.  But God will reward their kind motives, and guide them every step of the way from human affection to spiritual understanding, from faith to achievement, from light to Love, from sense to Soul.  (Eddy, Mary Baker, The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany, p.233:28-14)