December 7, 2016
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, wrote the following opening in her essay entitled “Christmas” in Miscellaneous Writings: “This interesting day, crowned with the history of Truth’s idea, — its earthly advent and nativity, — is especially dear to the heart of Christian Scientists; to whom Christ’s appearing in a fuller sense is so precious, and fraught with divine benedictions for mankind” (Mis. 320). During our Wednesday services leading up to Christmas, we’ll be symbolically lighting the candles of our own advent wreath by learning more about some of the symbols of Christmas. We’re beginning this Wednesday with Christmas gifts of which Mrs. Eddy wrote, “Christmas to me is the reminder of God’s great gift, — His spiritual idea, man and the universe…” (My. 262).
Here are some Bible Notes from The New Oxford Annotated Bible:
Psalm 72 A royal psalm that may have been used at the king’s coronation or anniversary. It views the Israelite king as the instrument of divine justice and protector of the poor, ensuring that the riches of creation are available to all; and he is the icon of God’s universal rule. Nonetheless, he is still a human being in constant need of divine help.
Psalm 72:2 The existence of the poor is contrary to the divine will, so the king is to be an instrument of the more equitable distribution of the world’s goods. 72:8 The River, the Euphrates.
Matthew 17:24 Temple tax, equivalent to half a shekel,..used in Jesus’ day for sacrifices and the upkeep of the Temple. 17:26 Just as a king’s children are tax-exempt, so too are God’s children. 17:27 Give offense, offend the devout people who collect the tax.
Many of you have heard the story of Joshua Bell in the DC Metro Station — a talented violinist ignored by the busy throngs. If you don’t know the story, here is a report and youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM21gPmkDpI
Last week, a similar violin story popped up on my FaceBook feed, but this video included an uplifting spiritual conclusion. The message at the end is such a gift — how someone always sees the beauty in you — and I thought it was just perfect for this holiday season. It is actually what inspired me to do a series of readings on Christmas gifts!