A guest post written by Bonnie Prest
With the holidays behind us, Christmas seemed to have come and gone as quickly as ever! However, as fleeting as the holidays were, they still showed me something new this season.
My husband Tim passed on at the beginning of 2011 and I have spent the balance of the year getting a better perspective on the situation – a spiritual perspective. Although I made some good progress during the year through prayer and study of the Bible, it wasn’t until the holidays rolled around that what I really needed to know was revealed to me.
Tim’s employer always hosted an annual holiday/recognition event before Thanksgiving. My husband and I found it was a great way to kick off the holiday season with gratitude and appreciation of others. But this fall I attended alone. It was a challenging weekend, not only for me, but for others as well; the company had recently been sold and this was to be our final company gathering. The night of the party emotions were running high, but I was still warmly and genuinely comforted by so many who knew Tim well.
During the course of the evening, I ended up talking with one of the employees who had worked under Tim. He had been a constant source of concern for my husband because he frequently “bumped heads” with a fellow employee in his department. In great sincerity, he shared with me something very special: now, whenever he and his co-worker would begin to argue, they would almost immediately stop – because of Tim. My husband had tried to impress upon them cooperation and genuinely respecting each other. This young man also shared with me that he never respected my husband more than he did now after his passing. He valued more than ever what they had discussed together about his future and his outlook on life.
Needless to say, what he said had a real impact on me. Even as I write this, I feel my heart soften.
As Christmas approached, I thought about this conversation more and more. I realized that Tim’s life was drawing on the same life-source as Jesus, and Tim was also expressing individually the same Christ-spirit expressed by Jesus. As Jesus still influences and impacts lives today, so too does my husband. Maybe not on the same level, but nonetheless in the same way. I had to ask myself, “You never grieve over Christ Jesus, so why are you grieving over Tim?”
Even if I can’t see him with my physical senses, Tim’s Christ-spirit is very much alive and well today. In the Bible Paul says, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Mary Baker Eddy, who strived to follow Christ Jesus’ healing example in every way, defines Christ as the “nature of God” and says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Christians are under as direct orders now, as they were then, to be Christlike, to possess the Christ-spirit, to follow the Christ-example . . .” She later wrote in the Christian Science Journal, a monthly publication she founded, “No change has been wrought when we say, ‘My friend has just died;’ the friend is saying in the full consciousness of existence and with its same surroundings, – ‘I never died. It was but a dream I had; for life is going on with me the same as before . . . their mistaken views of life have parted us; their belief that life ended with me, or took upon itself a new form, has prevented their understanding the reality of my present existence, – hence our separation through these opposite beliefs . . . Further communication between us is impossible, until their belief changes through the footsteps that mine has done and becomes like mine. This change will be named death, but that is their belief of it, not ours who have rent the veil that hides the mystery of a moment.’”
Jesus’ ministry, healing of the dead and his own resurrection, defines this Christ-spirit, which he so absolutely demonstrated in his final ascension. I am so grateful for this true understanding of Christmas and of my husband’s individual Christ-spirit, which lives now and always, and can be appreciated and experienced by seeing life even now through a spiritual sense of life and the lens of Christ – as did Tim’s co-worker! I found it was time I gave up the belief that we must be sick and die to “go to the Father” and instead we go to the Father through spiritual growth and the continuity of life.