Christmas is for remembrance. The love manifesting through our gifts to each other typifies the offering of Life, the givingness of Spirit to its creation. The hands of the Eternal are outstretched through our hands, and the heart of the Infinite beats in the human breast. But the giver must give of himself, for “The gift without the giver is bare”.
It is not, then, in lavish gifts that we find true giving but in the sweet simplicity of remembrance, in the kindly thought, the tolerant mind and the gentle act. Love alone can give love, sympathy alone can sympathize and only goodness can really do or be good.
The one who gives for reward does not give at all; he seeks to bargain; to trade for spiritual gifts, hence he senses loss on his own giving and finds no completion through the act. But he who gives half his meat to the hungry, feels justified and is warmed by a real sense of comradeship. He has established an actual unity between himself and other offspring of creation.
Great causes succeed when there is a giving of humanity. With the cheque must come the one who wrote it, his interest, his enthusiasm, his love. The cheque must be a symbol of his desire to impart himself—then shall it multiply its benefits and do good. Charity is cold but love is warm. When heart speaks to heart a divine conversation has taken place, a heavenly discourse.
Each of us has something to give. Let each see that he gives of his best. If we are bringing gifts to the altar of love, nothing less than the best will be acceptable, nothing less than all is enough.
May the real spirit of Christmas—the giving of self to life—enter and abide in you now and through all time.
The teachings of the Science of Mind can be condensed down to the simple idea that all thought is creative. That is, the thoughts that you think create the reality that you experience. And this includes both conscious thoughts and subconscious ones. The “science” part of Science of Mind refers to the fact that the preceding idea is not something to be believed only in theory—it must be tested, found to be true or false, and then integrated into your life as a principle of living.
An illustration of the power of thought comes to me from my life as a Swing dancer. Whenever there is a crowd of people watching a group of dancers doing their fancy moves, there can be two responses to the dancing. One says, “That’s amazing! There’s no way I could ever do that.” The second says, “Wow! I want to learn how.” And these thoughts become self-fulfilling prophesies. You can especially see how the former thought limits the possible set of experiences available to the thinker.
So when I read Jesus’ statement in the Bible that says, “He that has seen Me has seen the Father”, I imagine two responses. One is that made by traditional Christianity, which says that Jesus is an exception to our humanity. He is Special. We cannot be like Him because He is different than who we are. It too is a limiting thought. It says, “I could never be like Him.” And so it is. The second response, on the other hand, says that Jesus is an example of our humanity. What He became, we can become. This thought expands the possible set of experiences available to the thinker.
I choose to adopt the second type of mindset, not because it is objectively true, but because subjectively I can create a more empowered, creative, and fulfilling life experience for myself. And this is the power of the Science of Mind in action.
I wrote the following spiritual biography as part of the Path of Discovery Class taught at the Centre for Spiritual Living in Edmonton.
My earliest concept of God comes from some of my earliest memories of being alive. Just knowing that I am here, I am alive, being conscious about being a living, breathing being. My parents taught me about God as a loving creator and that the world was safe, and I felt that and knew that as a young child. I trusted that God was there, that I was special and that he loved me. I knew that I was perfect when I was a young child.
I think that knowing this and feeling this about myself and my world was synonymous with knowing and experiencing God’s love. I knew I was supported. I knew I was safe. I knew I was who I was meant to be.
I feel a little sadness now to look back and see how this changed for me, to become frightened and feel a separateness from God. To feel that God didn’t like me and that he would punish me for being who I am. In the church tradition I grew up in, the focus was on performance, on following the rules and behaving, on our inadequacy and failure as human beings. I bought into these messages and made them the foundation of my thinking and living.
The darkest moment in my life occurred when I left seminary in 1998. I had been a super Christian up to that point and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t measure up. I couldn’t be who they wanted me to be. I knew there was more to God and to life than that.
I started to see change when I let go of my old beliefs and opened up to new ones. I could make room in my view of God for homosexuality and evolution. I started learning about Buddhism and mediation. I learned from Carl Jung about a more mythical and mystical way of seeing the world. I learned so much from Ram Dass about letting go, about miracles, about the spiritual Journey, and about finding my own path.
Michelle has played a big role here, because our paths and awakenings have been on similar tracks.
I currently see God as Creator, but also as the playful Father with a twinkle in his eye. He doesn’t take himself or this life too seriously, so neither do I. I’m starting to see Consciousness as the only reality and to see this physical world as merely a simulation or a game in which I am the only player and everything else and everyone else is in on the game, to support me and help me to awaken to the true nature of myself and the Game.
My purpose is to remember who I am, to forget all the false truths about how I think the world is. In doing so, I can release my fears and see just how deep the love and support of the Universe is. I am meant to experience the Fullness of Joy.
Darren Paul Griffith
Edmonton, September 2007