Commentary: Coming home to the deeper meaning of Christmas

“Come home for Christmas!”

This was the message that advertising executive Jose Sokoloff ingeniously broadcast to guerrilla fighters in a country that hadn’t known peace for 50 years. As a result, he played a significant part in enticing Colombian guerrillas, described by this advertising executive to be “as much prisoners of the [rebel] organizations as the hostages,” to return to civilian life.

Sokoloff’s efforts were recognized in the 2014 TEDGlobal talks: “Using Christmas trees covered in lights, sharing 6,000 handwritten notes from citizens, they sent a message of love and warmth, from real people to real people: ‘Come home for Christmas.’ Over the past 10 years, 17,000 guerrillas have demobilized ...”

Doesn’t this modern-day story of the power of the Christmas message point to the deeper meaning of Christmas — that Christmas is not merely about giving and receiving gifts — but also about fulfilling the human yearning for a dependable, divine love?

Messages of love, hope and peace come from the divine, which Jesus’ birth heralded and which his life expressed. And these divine messages, and their healing power, are what Mary Baker Eddy, Bible scholar, author and spiritual healer, came to understand as the “unspeakable gift” the Bible mentions.

It’s the understanding of everyone’s spiritual origin and well being that Jesus so clearly saw in all men and women.

“In this perfect man,” Eddy wrote, “the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick.”

Jesus’ gifts were of liberating, redeeming power, rather than anything that could be bought with money.

I’ve come to see that the spiritual qualities we each have to express — peace, hope, and goodwill — are the best gifts we can give each other at Christmas, and when we cherish and celebrate these qualities in family, friends and even strangers, we are celebrating Christmas with a healing love.

What a gift each one of us can cherish this Christmas, then! Coming “home” to the health and healing Jesus showed us – based on the love of God – continues to change the world.

DON INGWERSON lives in Laguna Beach with his wife, and they are both Christian Science practitioners.