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I mentioned at the service on Sunday that I am entering my 22nd year of the Christmas season as a minister and I am just as excited about it this year as in years past. I love Advent and the anticipation of Christmas Eve and all that leads up to it. I love the beauty of our sanctuary decorated and throughout the church. Again, this year we had angel gift tags from Opportunity Alliance to help make Christmas for those who are in need. By the end of the service almost every tag was taken. The gifts are due back this coming Sunday, December 9, unwrapped. They can be in gift bags and the gift tag needs to be in the bag as well.
The message on Sunday was A World of Hope and the candle lit for the first Sunday in Advent was for Hope. Sunday at sundown also marked the beginning of Hanukkah. Hanukkah is a message of hope. Known also as the festival of lights, it literally shines its light on the darkness and lifts up its people and reignites hope.
Just recently, letters written by Nelson Mandela during his 27 years in prison became public, and they are filled with hope. Hope is what got him through when things looked the most hopeless. Hope was like a warm bath to him. He shares of reading The Power of Positive Thinking written by Norman Vincent Peale and how that was instrumental in him holding onto hope. He makes the point that it is not so much the disability one suffers from that matters but one’s attitude toward it. His example was that the person who says, “I will conquer this illness and live a happy life” is already halfway through to victory. Those of you who know Rev. LeRoy can see he is a great example of the point being made here.
Inspired by Peale, Nelson Mandela said, “Remember that hope is a powerful weapon even when all else is lost.” Mandela was a beacon of hope not only to his country but to the world.
I also shared from Paul K. Chappell’s book Peaceful Revolution on the chapter on “the muscle of hope.” Here are a couple of quotes from that chapter:
“As long as we are alive, the possibility of hope lives within us.”
“Realistic hope is one of our strongest allies in the struggle to solve our personal, national and global problems. To harness the power of hope we must explore and understand what it really is. We must recognize that hope is a form of trust. And like trust, hope is not easily gained.”
Paul shares there are three forms of trust: trust in yourself, trust in other people, and trust in your ideals. He also talks about the difference between naive hope and realistic hope. I invite you to listen to the complete message.
I leave you with this – Hope is like a light shining in a dark place… and never forget that Christ in You is Your Hope of Glory.
Join us next Sunday for the second Sunday of Advent and the message will be A World of Peace.
You are a blessing in my life.
Rev. Patricia Bessey
(No audio file for this service) Despite iffy weather on Sunday, what a fun service we had on Sunday! A new Christmas tradition got established for the Sunday following Thanksgiving with the “Hanging of the Greens.” A special thanks to Patti Lacombe for planting the seed of involving the community…
On the eve of Thanksgiving, many of you may be getting the turkey ready, making stuffing or peeling vegetables in preparation for tomorrow’s celebration; others may be on the road to be with family. And there may be those of you having a quiet day, possibly reflecting on the many things you are grateful for. Wherever this finds you, my friend, know that you are being sent blessings from Unity of Greater Portland for a happy and joyous Thanksgiving.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give a huge shout out to our Kitchen Team, Nancy Burnette, Martha and Ken Lloyd and Cindy Hildreth for a delicious Thanksgiving lunch on Sunday. They worked tirelessly preparing, serving and cleaning up as we fed over 60 people. Well done, my friends!
I want to share a few thoughts from the service on Sunday. Sir John Templeton, the billionaire investor, was once asked, what is the secret of wealth? Without hesitation, Templeton said, “Gratitude.” He went on to say, “If you’re not grateful, you’re not rich — no matter how much you have.”
Gratitude is a great mind magnet. When you are grateful for good in your life, you attract more good to you.
A few things to be grateful for are the Power of Choice. Each day we make thousands of choices about our thoughts, our feelings and our actions. Each choice produces its own consequences and reaction. No matter what happens, we can choose to be grateful.
Gratitude is the most powerful choice that one can make. Through the power of gratitude, we open a space to see God in all the details of our life. When we choose gratitude, the consequence is always a greater experience of God.
Another thing to be grateful for is Spiritual Vision. As you move about your world today, ask yourself, “What is the highest vision that I have for my life and my world?”
Look for the small, simple things that you can do, things that may not seem dramatic, but in truth are needed and are what give your world “heart.” Do at least two things today that will establish your vision of the world and give thanks that you are a positive influence for good.
One that is near and dear to me that I am grateful for is this Spiritual Community. As many of you know, Unity of Greater Portland became my spiritual community in September of 1989. I have been blessed in more ways than I can count by being connected here. The Unity teachings have brought me to where I am today, and my life is richer than any amount of money ever can bring me.
My prayer is that you are grateful for the good that has come into your life from being in this spiritual community. It is the power of coming together and sharing together that we deepen our experiences of God. As you give and serve in love, this community becomes a greater expression of God, and your life is filled with good. So, as you reflect on gratitude during this holiday, let’s not forget that your good comes from God and you get to express it through Unity of Greater Portland as well as other places in your life.
WHY GRATITUDE WORKS
Gratitude brings us into the present.
Gratitude takes off the blinders.
Gratitude shows us what’s really important.
Gratitude helps us see options.
Gratitude increases our self-esteem.
“Every day think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.” ~ The Dalai Lama
The 8 a.m. service, Count Your Blessings, can be heard here. (Use the audio player above.) Next Sunday will be the Hanging of the Greens — time to decorate for Christmas! Join us for another heart-opening Sunday.
You are a blessing.in my life.
Rev. Patricia Bessey
P.S. Click here for Unity’s Say Grace: Thanksgiving Mealtime Blessings and Prayer.
Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey — Some Sundays feel magical to me and this past Sunday was one of them. As I reflected on what made it so, I realized there were many things. I was passionate in sharing the message about Armistice Day and waging peace, not war.…