Christmas: A Season of Love

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

The countdown is on! Only four more days until Christmas Eve. We have a special service planned for 10 a.m. and our traditional Christmas Eve candle light service at 7 p.m. There will not be an 8 a.m. service, and following the 10 a.m. service coffee and tea will be provided and you have an opportunity to share with us some of your favorite holiday cookies and pastries.

This past Sunday, “Love” was the word for advent — and both services were filled with love. Our children performed a play titled “A Celebration of Interfaith Traditions,” which was both entertaining and educational! I want to give a hearty thank you to Elizabeth Peterson for writing and directing the play and to our Youth Education leaders and parents for supporting the rehearsals and making it such a memorable experience.

In keeping with the theme of love, here is an acronym for you to apply in your day-to-day life and especially during the holidays. It is a gift that keeps giving:

L – LISTEN intently to the people with whom you are interacting with… Listen deeply; it is a great gift.

O – OPTIMIZE the time you have with your loved ones. The truth is, we do not know our last hour; don’t postpone giving your love.

V – VALUE the people in your life; really notice their goodness.

E – EXPRESS your gratitude, appreciation and praise.

Along with living the acronym for “love,” here is another practice for you from New Thought writer Joel Goldsmith from his book Practicing the Presence: What is the principle? “Love they neighbor as thyself.”

In obeying this commandment, we love friend and foe; we pray for our enemies; we forgive, though it be seventy times seven; we bear not false witness against our neighbor by holding him in condemnation; we judge not as to good or evil, but see through every appearance to the Christ-identity – the one Self which is your Self and my Self.

This holiday season and clear into 2018, let us see the Christ in every person we encounter!

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

What Is a Peacemaker?

winter roadSunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, as snow is falling and it is chilly out. We are less than two weeks before Christmas day. Just a reminder about our Christmas services: there will only be the 10 a.m. service on December 24 and then our Christmas candle light service at 7 p.m. It is a perfect service to bring family and friends.

At the 10 a.m. service we will have coffee and tea and we invite you to bring baked cookies and other sweets that are family favorites to share with your spiritual family.

I want to give a shout out to Bonnie LePage for the years of service she has given to providing us with excellent audio/visual for our Sunday Celebration services. This Sunday she will be handing over the reins to Gary Wane and Andrew Williamson, who will continue giving us the best support any minister could ask for. Well done, Bonnie! Please take a minute to thank her for her good work.

This past Sunday was the second Sunday of Advent, and the word was peace. The focus of the message was taken from the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons (and daughters) of the God of peace.” What is a peacemaker? Good question!

Let’s first look at what a peacemaking is not.

Peacemaking is not the absence of conflict. Peacemaking is not the avoidance of strife. Peacemaking is not the appeasement of parties. Peacemaking is not the accommodation of issues.

Peacemakers instead are pursuing all the beauty and blessedness of God upon another. William Barclay (writer of biblical commentary) translates this beatitude as, “They are people who produce right relationships in every sphere of life.”

Peacemaking is divine work. And Jesus is the supreme Peacemaker. He came to establish peace; his message was the demonstration of peace.

There have been many peacemakers in our lifetime, and one that I quote extensively in this talk is Fr. John Dear, who has been actively working for peace for 35 years. To hear more about Fr. Dear, listen to the Sunday message.

Another peacemaker that we are all familiar with is St. Francis of Assisi. Here is his famous prayer:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon,
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
Where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love

For it is in giving that we receive
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

This Sunday the 8 a.m. service talk will be about Love in honor of the third Sunday of Advent. At the 10 a.m. service our children will be presenting a Christmas play.

Awakening To Hope And Faith: The Christ Consciousness

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

My heart is full to overflowing after the wonderful reception that both LeRoy and I received yesterday from this amazing community after having been away. It felt so good to be back!

The sanctuary is dressed to the nines for the holidays, thanks to Patti Lacombe and Randall Sawyer.

Please note that there will not be an 8 a.m. service on Christmas Eve morning, as we will be having a play put on by members of our community.

Advent began this past Sunday with the message of Hope and Faith. The focus of the message was that we are the light to dispel the darkness that seems to be surrounding us. Jesus, our elder brother and wayshower, came into the world to awaken within us the indwelling Spirit.

John 1:9 reads, “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.” The spiritual image and likeness in which we are all created is the I AM, the Christ, our own true Self or, as the Apostle Paul said: “. . . Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

The Christ is not “born” in the sense that something comes into being that did not exist before. The birth of the Christ is really an awakening or enlightenment that takes place within our individual consciousness. It is an awakening to the divine nature expressing as the true, spiritual, higher Self. God’s perfect idea for humankind has always been, and will always be, for it is eternal.

Our greatest awareness is reached when we realize that Christmas is really our story — the story of the birth of the Christ in us! Let your true Self be revealed to you as never before… let it be born in the manger of your heart.

Here is an affirmation to carry with you this week: “I AM the Christ, an expression of the living God.”

As it’s been said, “Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born, if He is not born in thee, thy soul is still forlorn.” We are reborn as we awaken to this Presence!

As you go through your week, whether at your job, Christmas shopping, or in the sanctuary of your own home, remember to let your light shine brightly. Scripture tells us, “And the Light is shining in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.”

Next Sunday is the second Sunday of Advent, and the theme is Peace. See you there!

Following the service next Sunday, plan to stay for a heart-based meditation workshop with Paul and Sandra Dugliss. Here is a great opportunity to do self-care through the holiday season. The following Saturday, December 16, will be the next Silent Saturday again, another opportunity to unplug from the to-do lists and deadlines that this time of the year tends to overload our calendars with.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

It’s A Wonderful Life

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

My practice is to write this article on Monday mornings: It is like Monday morning quarterbacking. I review the Sunday service and lesson, and then share my thoughts with you. As I am doing so, it is lightly snowing and beauty abounds. I am so grateful that the snow waited until Sunday night and gave us a beautiful Sunday for our service.

Following the regular service, we offered a special Remembrance Service for those who we have lost due to death, a relationship change, a job change or other circumstances that resulted in loss and pain. Participants wrote the names of those they wished to remember on heart-shaped tags and hung them on our Christmas tree. Those tags will be available next Sunday if you would like to add to them.

This coming Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Advent, and the focus word is JOY.  Our children will be part of our 10  a.m. service, and they have been practicing for their debut. Please come and support them as they share their JOY with us.

The message this past Sunday was titled It’s a Wonderful Life after the classic Christmas film starring Jimmy Stewart, who played the main character, George Bailey. We considered all that George Bailey learned about his life through the film based on his unique experience of seeing how his life directly impacted his loved ones and his town in a world in which he never existed.

Here is what we can learn from George: Let us see that life’s little frustrations, its obstacles and roadblocks, don’t really amount to a hill of beans when viewed from the awakened perspective. From George Bailey’s perspective, who has seen the world without his life, or more importantly, life, without him, he now understands this most important concept.

In our everyday life, somehow, we often fail to truly see, to truly appreciate and treasure, our work, our homes, our family, our friends, and even life itself. What would it be like if each of us could, for just a while, be given a chance to see what the world would have been like had we not been born – like George Bailey?

We need not go to the lengths that George went to awaken to the Truth – “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.”

mother and childThe truth is that to be born into this world, to have this life, is a most rare and precious occurrence. It should neither be taken lightly nor for granted. If we could see what life would be like, had we not been born, we would realize how truly fortunate we are to simply be in this world. With such a view of life, no amount of personal or business failure, no amount of misfortune or bad luck, no amount of trouble or turmoil, could obstruct one from seeing that ultimately, life truly is wonderful.

Please join us on Christmas Eve for our traditional Christmas Candle Light service. It begins at 7 p.m. and, along with Deana and her beautiful voice, will be Julie Thompson and others providing songs of the season.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

P.S. In October I shared this with you… please take a walk around the outside of our building and see the beautiful new look. In a recent letter to some of you I shared that in November we will have been in this building for 25 years and invited you to increase your giving by $25 each month in celebration of this milestone. The additional money will go directly to paying down the line of credit to do this project. I know many of you have contributed and we are so grateful. If you haven’t yet or if you are hearing of this for the first time and would like to join us in reducing the debt, please mark on your check on the memo line “25 years.”

As of the end of November we have received over $1900. It is not too late to contribute. If you do so before December 31, it can be used as a tax deduction for 2016.

Christmas Compassion: How To Give Christmas Gifts All Year Long

Merry Christmas

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

We are embarking on a wonderful time of the year called the “Holiday Season,” which includes Advent, Christmas and New Year’s. We have always looked upon this period as a time when we tend to become spiritually closer to each other, a little friendlier, a little more grateful and a little more conscious of how blessed we really are. We hope the season will be this way for you.

It is also a time when your Church home offers a wide range of inspiring and uplifting activities designed to help you derive the greatest benefit from the opportunities for spiritual growth which the season affords. We encourage you to take advantage of this time to participate in our Holiday Season events, to deepen your relationship with God, and to prepare yourself to meet the opportunities in the year ahead with faith, courage and a joyful and loving heart.

To help you in your holiday planning, we have provided a list of events that will be taking place during the Season. In addition, we have given you an affirmation that you may find helpful in becoming centered during the Holidays. Lastly, we know how much you value the services provided all year and now you have the opportunity to give an additional donation, assuring these services continue into 2017 for you and for those who we welcome through our doors. We are truly appreciative of your continuing support.

Please join us in the weeks to come for a memorable celebration of Advent and Christmas, during which we open ourselves to the Spirit of Love and Harmony that so richly blesses us. May you become inspired and carried away by the joy of this season, and may you come face to face with the reality of God’s presence in you.

The affirmation is: The Christ Spirit ever dwells within me, awaiting my recognition and celebration. Every day can be Christmas as I realize my full potential as a child of God. I have within me the power to make this the most beautiful, meaningful, and joyous Christmas I have ever experienced.

May God’s love and grace bless your Holiday experience.