God Bless Us, Every One

God Bless Us, Every One

© GLOW IMAGES

A guest post written by Jeannine Brix

Many people have their own special Christmas traditions. Since 1970, one of mine has been to watch the movie, Scrooge, a musical version of the literary classic A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Dickens (1812 – 1870) is one of England’s greatest novelists. His 200th birthday was celebrated this year with a London revival of the stage musical by Leslie Bricusse based on the same Scrooge movie that I watch every year to begin my Christmas season celebration.

This famous author wrote several other books based on Christmas, but this first one, published in 1848, was an instant success, and since its debut has been an integral part of celebrating Christmas in the English-speaking world for over a century and a half. I remember the very first time I saw A Christmas Carol on screen. It was in my fourth grade classroom, and I won’t tell you how long ago that was, but I will tell you it was shown on a pull down screen with an 8mm projector, and it was a black and white silent movie.

This story has so permeated our culture that the name of its protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge, has become synonymous with being miserly and mean-spirited. In fact, just yesterday while walking down the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, I noticed a large banner in a store front window that said: “Un-Scrooge Yourself – find the holiday spirit inside!”

In pondering why A Christmas Carol has such a hold on our collective consciousness at this time of year, I have concluded that it is because of its simple yet profound theme. It is a story of redemption. And so it echoes the timeless, over-riding theme of Christianity itself – redemption. The holy promise that no matter what our shortcomings, errant ways, or misdeeds, we can be saved. That is why we so joyously celebrate the birth of the one who saves us – our Savior.

I find helpful this message from Ephesians, which outlines the path we are to follow: “… be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” And in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, we read: “The whole human family would be redeemed through the merits of Christ – through the perception and acceptance of Truth.”

So in the famous words of Dickens’ dear Tiny Tim, the message of this season is clear: “God bless us, every one!”

The Beloved Community

 

The Beloved Community

photo by hiroshiken’s photostream

A guest post written by Jeannine Brix

The first time I heard the phrase “beloved community,” it struck a chord in my heart and spoke to me of goodwill and good neighbors. “The beloved community” is a term that was first coined by philosopher-theologian, Josiah Royce, founder of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. But it was Dr. King who popularized the term and invested it with a deeper meaning – meaning which has captured the imagination of people of goodwill all over the world. The beloved community was for him a realistic, achievable goal that could be attained through nonviolence. The creation of such a community would come from reconciliation and redemption; it would transform opponents into friends. He envisioned how love and understanding could bring about miracles in the hearts of men.

Given the thread of this beloved community thinking connected with Dr. King, how appropriate it is that an annual celebration event in his honor features a Community Involvement Fair as an integral component! The fair offers local service groups and non-profits an invaluable opportunity to introduce themselves to the public and share what they have to offer to their beloved community of Santa Monica. Twenty organizations participated this year, with interests ranging from the Santa Monica Symphony to the Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom to the Santa Monica Sister Cities Association to the Westside YWCA.Continue Reading

Cherishing Each Other

Cherishing Each Other

Interfaith Banner – Photo illustrated by By Svadilfari

A guest post written by Jeannine Brix

A few years ago Jennifer, a Santa Monica Christian Science church member, pursued her interest in interfaith activities by attending the Westside Interfaith Council, which has ten to twenty members of faiths ranging from Conservative Jew, Unity, Quaker, Sufi, Sunni, Kabala, Mormon, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Agnostic, Lutheran, Muslim, and now thanks to Jennifer, Christian Science. She was welcomed warmly with such comments as: “We are so glad to have the Christian Science viewpoint now being represented,” and “We have always respected your religion so it is great to have you becoming involved.”

Each meeting, faith perspectives are shared on such topics as how to deal with the media focus on disasters and atrocities; what are we doing to alleviate poverty locally; and, how do we celebrate holidays. Jennifer feels that the Christian Science perspective is always welcome as she frequently shares ideas from the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, the religious periodicals, and The Christian Science Monitor. Recently, the group produced a document to promote peace. It is being electronically sent around the world, appealing to anyone of any faith who opposes war.Continue Reading