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Connecting with true Christmas peace

It’s Christmas time again, and the air is thick with commercialism. Each year the Yuletide spirit comes earlier and the demands increase. With the parties to attend, gifts to buy, and family members to entertain, Christmas can feel far from a spiritual time of year.

One particular Christmas I was living in a new city away from friends and family. I had just graduated from college and was working as a teacher. As you can imagine, my financial situation was pretty humble with a modest teaching salary and college loans to repay. Yet, living simply was normal for me. In fact, during college I opted to use the school computers so I could save some money. But now it was time for me to bite the bullet and buy my own.

Unlike most shoppers who were out buying presents on this winter afternoon, I was in search of the perfect computer. A little bit of research had given me a vague idea of what I wanted, but when I reached the store I was completely overwhelmed. Words like gigabyte and RAM meant nothing to me. Should I be buying a refurbished computer or a new one? I was completely confused about the technical and financial aspects of making this important decision.

Dizzy from the salesman’s pitch, I left the store so I could give it some more thought. I fished around in my purse for my cell phone—without success—thinking, “If only I could call my dad or some tech savvy friend to advise me on my purchase!” But here I was in the middle of this crazy mall, with no phone, in need of a computer, and totally frustrated about what to do.

Finally, I sat down on a nearby bench and decided to do what came naturally—pray. The academic and personal challenges that I faced in college, showed me that Christianly scientific prayer is the most effective healing tool, regardless of the problem.

I always found peace when I could step back from whatever situation I was worked up about, be it an exam, a physical problem, or a friendship, and turn to God. I knew that the spiritual ideas I prayed with reflected God’s laws. And these laws had to be sustaining me whether I was in college or out, near my family or not.

At this moment, I really opened my heart to hear what God had to say. The simple message that came was, “You have a direct connection to God.” To me it meant that I could always hear God’s guidance and feel Her reassurance in very tangible ways. I didn’t need to consult someone to make the right decision. And I didn’t need a cell phone to hear God more clearly.

I just needed to be still and listen. In that humble and quiet moment I felt God’s gentle, mothering presence in the middle of the holiday rush. The best planning and most conscientious efforts couldn’t have provided a better answer.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, instructed her students on the power of God’s omnipresence when she wrote, “At all times and under all circumstances overcome evil with good. Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil…. The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity.”

That was it! This experience wasn’t about buying a computer at holiday time, it was about feeling God’s uninterrupted love. Even a small glimpse into the greater spirit of Christmas had a healing effect. The pressure to find the perfect computer was gone. In fact, I felt like I couldn’t even make the wrong decision if I wanted to.

With this new sense of peace, I returned to the store and found just the right computer. But more important than the money I spent or the computer itself was my firsthand experience with the presence and stillness God brings to what can feel like harried moments in life. All it took was turning to Her in prayer, with certainty and expectancy.

So whether it’s indecision about what to serve at a holiday meal or where to find a meaningful gift, I learned that nothing can interfere with the permanent relationship we each share with God. It’s a direct connection that’s good the whole year round.

Originally published in the Christian Science Sentinel, December 5, 2007.

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