Lessen Christmas, diminish Jesus: Why?

December 24th, 2016

Anyone who says the way to have more truth and more life is to diminish Jesus Christ, is going to have a fight on their hands with me.

Over the years, with no ill will at all toward my Christian Science friends, I have come to see that this is exactly what their doctrine seeks to do.

It becomes especially clear at the two peaks of the Christian year, Christmas and Easter. These holy days dramatize how Mary Baker Eddy, for some reason (whether her motives were benign or malign I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter), inverted the great precept of John the Baptist in John 3:30 and decreed in effect that Jesus must decrease and she herself must increase.

Take for example her important poem “Blest Christmas Morn,” appointed to be sung frequently as a hymn in Christian Science churches. It lessens Christmas by diminishing and demoting the baby of Bethlehem in almost every one of its 20 lines.

We are shown that neither the child in the manger nor man on the cross stands nearly as high in Mrs. Eddy’s theology as her eternal impersonal Christ, a deathless “God-idea” or “gentle beam” of immaterial concepts. We’re left wondering why the birth of Mary’s child really mattered at all to us mortals.

I had an amicable but unsatisfying conversation about this the other day with an earnest CS friend of mine; call him Mike. Mike is touchingly open to biblical truth unfiltered through the Eddy textbook, and it’s clear he loves Jesus. But only up to a point, for he remains doggedly loyal to MBE’s metaphysical rewrite of the gospel.

Grasping for some persuasive way to challenge his illogic, I realized how much my own break with Science, decades ago, had owed to the chilly abstractions that assault us in “Blest Christmas Morn.” The hymn, along with other compelling factors, had finally led me to ask myself a series of simple questions, which I now in turn asked of Mike.

1- Whom do you love more, Mrs. Eddy or Jesus?

2- Who apparently loves Jesus more, you or Mrs. Eddy?

3- On the evidence of their writings and statements, does Mrs. Eddy love Jesus as much as, or more than, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, and John the Baptist?

4- Or does she apparently love them less than those saints (a word puzzlingly and inaptly used at the close of “Bless Christmas Morn,” by the way —further diminishing Jesus), in which case why place any reliance on her words or example?

I am still waiting for my friend’s answer, and praying it will be the answer I gave our Lord in song on that Christmas long ago: “My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine.” Please join me in that prayer.

The author can be reached at andrewsjk@aol.com

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