GIVING THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY DAYS
Father, Mother, God; I am now conscious of the infinite and eternal presence in whom I love and by which I think and create.
This presence in me is whole and complete. It is the activity of health that heals, of intelligence that inspires, of substance that prospers, and of love that harmonizes.
I am God's glorious possibility and I now let His perfect idea of me unfold in me and through me. My desire for betterment is God's desire to perfect that which He is expressing as me and I intend to let Him have His way, seeing myself as doing that which He sees me as being.
I have no existence outside of God's presence, for I am that presence, expressing as me. Therefore I can never be separated from the all-sufficient substance of the opulent universe. I claim my divine inheritance and I daily, perpetually, manifest abundant supply.
The presence in me is my potential for dissolving all conflicts of transgression. The presence is love, and it loves in me and through me as love; it forgives in me and through me as I forgive; it releases me as I loosen and let go of all my limited thoughts about myself and others.
The presence in me is my light and my deliverance. There is no darkness in the light and there can be no darkness in me when I am established in spiritual unity with the presence within which is better than light and safer than the known way.
In all that I seek to be or do or have, I humbly recognize that in the presence is my own power to think, my very aspirations, my will to commence, my strength to keep on, my power to achieve, and the glory of my accomplishment. This is the truth, it is now done. So be it. AMEN
There is a story about a little boy in New York City many years ago on a very cold day in December. He was standing barefoot outside a shoe store, shivering, and peering through the window. A well-dressed woman approached the boy and said, "My little fellow, why are you looking so earnestly through that window?"
"I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes," the boy replied. It was then she noticed he had no shoes. Compassion filled the woman's heart, and she took the little boy into the store and asked the clerk to get him a half dozen pairs of shoes and some warm socks. She then asked for a basin of water and a cloth. She took the boy to the back of the store and removed her gloves, knelt down, and washed his feet and dried them with the towel. By this time, the clerk had the socks and shoes, and she placed a pair on his feet. She had the clerk box up the other shoes and she paid for them and looked at the boy and said, "No doubt you'll be more comfortable now."
As she turned to go, the astonished boy grabbed her hand. He looked up into her face and with tears in his eyes, he asked, "Lady, are you God's wife?"
How many of us plan to buy (or did buy) a gift to give to someone less fortunate this holiday season? Isn't there great joy in that?!
This month we are talking about the gifts of the Holy Days -- the gifts of Joy, Peace and Power. And today, we are going to talk about GIVING those gifts.
In Lessons In Truth, H. Emilie Cady writes: "Understanding, or realization of the presence of God within us, is as Peter said, "the gift of God"a. It comes to any and all who learn how to seek it aright. Emerson said, "This energy (consciousness of God in the soul) does not descend into individual life on any other condition than entire possession. It comes to the lowly and simple; it comes to whomsoever will put off what is foreign and proud; it comes as insight; it comes as serenity and grandeur.b"c
We are all here on purpose to serve Life in our own unique way. To be a giver to life. More than a giver of material things -- but a giver of who we are. We really are all here to engage in Divine Service. In Divine Service - our conversation changes. Instead of saying:
God, what have you done for me lately or what can I get from life?
God, how can I be used to express your peace, your joy and your power or how can I give peace, joy and power to the world?
So, what about peace?
The day after Hanukah, a little Jewish boy was overheard saying to his friend: This was the best Hanukah I ever had -- I DIDN'T get one thing I needed.
Let me tell you, my friends, peace is a gift we all need!
Another little Jewish boy, whose birth we celebrate next Friday, whom we call the Way Shower, whom others have called the Prince of Peace, taught us how to give the gift of peace. Three peace lessons from Jesus:
1. He believed and taught that evil was not an energy to resist. He said, "resist not evil." His meaning, of course, was, rather than give over to fear of evil, we are not to give it our attention. As the seed is nourished, it grows. We are not to nourish the seed of evil with our attention.
2. He taught us not to judge or condemn. He wrote in the sand for those who would stone the woman caught in adultery, "He who is without sin caste the first stone."
3. He taught forgiveness. He answered Peter's question regarding forgiveness, "I say not unto thee, until seven times; but until seventy times seven." Jesus walked his talk even at his most painful moment on the cross when he said, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."
Forgiveness Definition: The DECISION/CHOICE to let go of the demand that anything or anyone be any different from what it was or is.
How do you know you've forgiven? When someone can pass unharmed through your mind. When you have made the choice to forgive and a person whom you've forgiven starts to pass through and gets harmed, say to yourself: No I am not going to go there; I've already forgiven so and so or this situation.
We can apply these peace principles in our lives and in our nation today. We do not need to stick our heads in the sand like an ostrich. There are wars, crimes and diseases, but we can look at it all through the lens of peace.
We can take the message from the Teacher and drop the stone. We can forgive. We can choose not to resist evil by giving it all of our attention. Through these practices, we give the gift of peace.
Wayne Dyer: "If enough of us shied away from ... confrontation, just imagine how much war we could eliminate."
He also wrote: "Try taking a breather from your habit of continuously looking for occasions to be non-peaceful. Go to that quiet, serene peaceful place within you that is covered by the outer layers of your material life. It is from here that you can mirror peace. Here, your emphasis is on giving, rather than receiving, peace."
"When you are mirroring peace to the world, you are not seeking anything, you are a peace provider. You do not seek peace by looking into the lives of others and wishing that they would change, so that you could become more peaceful. Rather, you bring your own sense of calm to everyone you encounter."
"You do not go about viewing every circumstance of your life in terms of whether it meets with your standard for peace. Rather, you bring your peaceful countenance to the chaos you encounter, and your presence soothes the outer turmoil."d
How do we give the gift of joy? Eric Butterworth writes in Essays on Abundant Living: "Actually, when you are in the consciousness of joy, you project an energy that effects the growth of plants, the temperament of animals, and even the moods of the people you live and work with. The Truth is...we dwell in a world of rhythm and harmony which is limitless in potential. Man has this limitlessness within him as a depth potential to be discovered and released. When we are happy, we are in tune, in the flow of this rhythm. Whatever be the nature of things, a very good piece of advice is, "Just be glad"..."rejoice, give thanks, and sing." This may sound "Pollyanna-ish", but it is the wisest use of the mind. Just be sure that you do not give anyone or anything the power to turn off your inner radiance. Let your light shine...all the time!"e
One example of giving is Sanjit "Bunker" Roy, founder of the Barefoot College. Since graduating from college in 1965, Mr. Roy has committed his life to serve the poor and to help rural communities become self-sufficient. The Barefoot College education program encourages learning-by-doing, such as training grandmothers from Africa and the Himalayan region to be solar engineers so they could bring electricity to their remote villages.
It's the joy and love that we extend to others that brings true happiness or union with God. When we give, we reap the joy of seeing a bright smile, laughter, tears of joy and gratitude for life. We know that if people give just a little more-of their time, skills, knowledge, wisdom, compassion, wealth, and love-the world would be a more peaceful and healthier place.
The rewards of giving are priceless. If you want to have happiness, you need to give happiness. If you want love, you need to give love. It is only in giving that you receive. No matter what your circumstances in life, you have the ability to give.
I encourage you to look for opportunities where you can give and help others. The gift of joy will come to you when you give of yourself to others. That's what life is all about. Let's practice and commit our lives to giving joy. Try it! It works!
Give Away Your Power! Not in the way that phrase is usually said. What if you gave the gift of a silent affirmative prayer for someone. What if you held the high watch for a friend going through a challenging time or refused to be hypnotized by a diagnosis your spouse or partner just received? These are all amazing ways you can give your power away? Think about it, what other ways can you do it?
A Sufi teaching says: "Past the seeker as he prayed came the crippled and the beggar and the beaten. And seeing them, he cried, "Great God, how is it that a loving creator can see such things and yet do nothing about them?" God said, "I did do something. I made you.""
We "do something" when we Give the Gifts of our Joy, Peace and Power!
It is better to light candles
than to curse the darkness.
It is better to plant seeds
than to accuse the earth.
The world needs all of our power
and joy and peace,
and each of us has more than enough to give.
The trick is to find it and use it,
to find it and share it.
So there will always be more.
We can be lights for each other,
and through each other's illumination
we will see the way.
Each of us is a seed,
a silent promise,
and it is always spring.
And so it is.
Let's end with a prayer for our nation:
Father, Mother, God; We join in prayer to celebrate this nation and surrender its destiny to You.
We give thanks in our hearts for the founding of this country.
We give thanks for and bless the souls of those who came before us to found this nation, to nurture and to save it.
We ask that God's spirit now fill our hearts with righteousness.
May we play our parts in the healing and the furtherance of our country.
May we be cleansed of all destructive thoughts.
May the beauty and greatness of this land burst forth once more in the hearts of its people.
May the dreams of our forefathers be realize in us, that we might live in honesty and integrity and excellence with our neighbors.
May this country once again become a light unto the nations of hope and goodness and peace and freedom.
May all of us feel God's grace upon us.
Reignite the spirit of truth in our hearts
May our nation be given a new light, the sacred fired that once shone so bright from shore to shore.
May we be repaired.
May we be forgiven.
May our children be blessed.
May we be renewed.
Please bless America.
bRalph Waldo Emerson
cH. Emilie Cady - Lessons In Truth
eEric Butterworth writes in Essays on Abundant Living