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JUDGE SEPTIMUS J. HANNA, CSD
How many will stop to earnestly and soberly inquire: What significance has Jesus' birth for me? How much am I bettered by the fact of his birth? How fully have I in the past profited by his birth, his teachings, his practices, his death upon the cross, his resurrection and his ascension? How earnestly have I striven to learn the deep and mighty meaning of all this to me? How fully have I sought to obey his commandments to do unto others as I would have others do unto me? To love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind and soul? To love my neighbor as myself? To fulfil all the law and the prophets which he said were contained in these two commandments? To be perfect even as my Father in heaven is perfect? To leave all and follow him? To turn absolutely and finally away from the world and the things thereof, seeking only God and His righteousness? To have no other gods than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Jesus and the apostles, the God of the early Christian Fathers, the God of the truly devout in the ages since their day?
How many, we ask, are there in Christendom today who in the sense above indicated are striving to make this Christmas their true CHRIST-MASS? This inquiry is broad and general. It includes Christian Scientists as well as all other Christians. It means as much for these as for any others. What account shall we be able to render of our stewardship? This question comes home to each of us. It is an individual question. The question for each one to consider, is not nearly as much, What have other Christians been doing, or what are my neighbors in Christian Science doing, or shall do, as what have I been doing in the direction of living the lesson taught by Jesus' birth, life and death?
It matters not how many have failed or fallen short of the demands of Truth as taught and exemplified by Jesus; if I have failed and fallen short, I am the sufferer and must pay the penalty of my own shortcomings. My business and duty is to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling, knowing the while that if I do my part, I will find God through Christ Jesus, ever working with me. Mighty fact! Stupendous thought! God working with me! Who would not work in such company? Who would not forsake all other companions that he might companion with God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth?
Only in the measure in which we leave behind us all false material conceptions and reach out after the Life which is Love, the Love which is Life, the Truth which is Good, and the Good which is Truth, are we leaving all and following Christ, and only as we leave all and follow Christ, each day, each hour, each moment, are we truly celebrating the CHRIST-MASS. This is the meaning of Christmas to each one of us. We should celebrate it by turning face about and forsaking all the sins and errors which are holding us in false conditions and preventing our realization of the all-ness of Almighty Good.
Let us forget the mere material observances in the higher celebration which comes from our larger and better conception of Jesus' birth and life. The less we cling to the old methods the better. They tend only to hold us down in mortal trammels. However pleasant to mortal sense, they are delusive, and tend only to perpetuate the lie of false existence.
Especially should we cease to keep the children under the old Santa Claus delusion. Why deceive them in this respect any more than in any other? Why lie to them about a false personality of this sort more than any other? Is it not time that all persons who desire their children to be truthful were ceasing to drill them in the art of lying from the very cradle? Can we expect them to be truthful while we are daily pouring into their susceptible consciousness falsehood after falsehood? Who but the father of lies, the old satan of the Bible, ever suggested such things Is it not a part of the whispering of the original Edenic serpent? Let it stop, at least so far as Christian Scientists are concerned, and it will be one Christmas move in the right direction. It may be well enough to keep up the custom of remembering the children with "Christmas gifts," but why accompany these gifts with a falsehood? why perpetuate this pagan lie?
Let our sincere striving be to make the year which is about to dawn, a continuous Christmas, a perpetual day of Christ-living, and thus be the better prepared to do his work, making ourselves receptive to His "working with us."
The Christian Science Journal, December, 1894
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