Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Holiday Preparations

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Holiday Preparations

Article excerpt

After my first phone call from a disgruntled family member about Thanksgiving, I was reminded that holidays can often be trying times for families and friends. And the most important way that I can prepare for the upcoming holidays is to pray. Add to that patience, love, and a good sense of humor, and I'm all set.

In preparation this year, I'm taking some pointers from how shepherds "prepare a table," which according to the original Hebrew word, can imply a "meal," for their sheep. Psalm 23 says, "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies."

Before leading their sheep to pasture, shepherds travel up to the high country to inspect the land where their sheep will graze. Often they are watching for poisonous weeds that can be fatal to their sheep. Once the land is rid of any noxious weeds, or "enemies," they lead their sheep to safe grazing ground. Even while the sheep are grazing, the watchful shepherd keeps an eye out for any new sprouts or other enemies.

After grazing, sheep won't lie down unless they're free of fear from outside attack, from aggravation (usually flies), rivalry from within the flock, or hunger. Doesn't this sound familiar? Family gatherings are quickly upset if one feels attacked (perhaps by strong opinions), comments that "bug" us, rivalry for place or attention, or a hunger or longing to feel accepted or loved.

The noxious weeds that would try to germinate and grow and poison our time with family or friends aren't people, but the belief that we are separate beings with various failings - short tempers, a tendency toward gossip, a hunger to be the center of attention, and so on. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the author, Mary Baker Eddy, described divine Love as a "universal solvent," which destroys "self-will, self-justification, and self- love" (p. 242).

Divine Love reveals that we are spiritual ideas, perfect and much loved by our Father-Mother God, and responding to our families by recognizing that this is true for each one of them as well as ourselves can make a great difference. …

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