Sandy Souder, November 29, 2015
Good Morning Beloved!
A newly married man asked his wife, “Would you have married me if my father hadn’t left me a fortune?” “Honey,” the woman replied sweetly, “I’d have married you, no matter who left you a fortune.”
The season of Advent is a time HISTORICALLY marked for remembering the years of preparation and consecration prior to the coming of the Messiah.
For many centuries, the Christian Church has identified the beginning of the Christmas celebration with a time of reflection and expectation called Advent.
The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival” and, when used in conjunction with Christmas, reminds us of the anticipation and expectation held over hundreds of years by the people of Israel for their Messiah and promised King.
For centuries before Christ, Hebrew rabbis methodically and passionately taught the Jewish people that Messiah was coming. They taught that the people should be ready when he appeared. They emphasized the need for holy living and obedience to God’s law.
This explains how the lowliest shepherds and fishermen of that day were acquainted with the promises of a Messiah. This season of preparation was all by God’s design.
Metaphysically, what do you think advent means? Keep in mind, when we look at something metaphysically, it’s what it means to you…the underlying message of the word.
Here’s some more information on the word as you are thinking of its meaning to you…the further definition states ‘coming into being or use.’
Today, we mark Advent with the display of a wreath – its circle reminds us of Divine Spirit, some call God, some Goddess, others Buddha, and still others Universe – whichever; eternal and endlessly merciful. It is evergreen – reminding us of hope. Our Advent wreath is round, without beginning or end, to represent the completeness that we have in Christ, the Divine in us.
The four outer candles incorporated into the display represent the time of waiting and preparation for the Messiah during the four Sundays of Advent (thought by many theologians to represent the four hundred years of prophetic silence between Malachi and the angelic visitations of the Gospels.)
The light of the candles reminds us of the Light of world, and the prophetic promise of the Coming…our becoming.
Our first candle represents Faith or HOPE.
We are told that faith can move mountains, and perhaps you have even experienced a metaphorical mountain move in our life. Did you ever hold onto a hope, against all odds and have it prevail? There’s your mountain!
Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity wrote “When we believe [in the possibilities of things not seen], putting aside all doubt and whatever suggests failure, the thoughts of faith begin to accumulate substance and fulfillment follows.” This is how powerful we are, when we maintain a sense of positive expectancy, the very universe responds!
As it says in Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Here are examples of Faith in action:
“A farming community suffered during a protracted drought. The parched earth produced little of the life- and wealth-sustaining crop every family depended upon. A local minister called the community together to pray for rain. The town square became crowded with citizens from all faith traditions. The minister greeted everyone, scanning the crowd for familiar faces. The minister’s eyes landed on a young girl approaching from the dry fields. The crowd parted as she neared. She was the only one carrying an umbrella.”
A king had a disturbing dream that all his teeth had fallen out. As was the custom of his time, he sent for a soothsayer to interpret the dream. “Your Highness,” the man said after reflecting a few moments, “The dream means that all your relatives will die and you will be left alone.”
This troubled the king even further, so he sent the soothsayer away and sought a second opinion. Hearing the king’s dream, the second interpreter began to smile and dance about: “Rejoice, O King!” he said. “The dream means that you will live many more years. In fact, you will outlive all your relatives!”
Think about it….
Both seers told the king essentially the same thing, but the second gave the interpretation from a significantly different perspective. Our feelings about events are determined not by “the facts,” but by our interpretations of what those facts mean.
Dale Carnegie said, “It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.”
Which version of the dream’s meaning would you accept?
Shakespeare wrote, “There is nothing in this world either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
Our foundation statement in Unity, the rock upon which our faith rests, is that God is the only presence and power in the Universe. Good is the only presence. Apparent “bad” is temporary, and it functions to provide opportunity for expanded good.
What experiences can you think of that were ‘opportunities for expanded good’ in your life? (Selling my house)
“The wind blows where it wills.” Jesus said. Life happens! And we don’t always have a choice about which way the wind blows. But we do have the ability to adjust the sails of our thinking. Jesus taught, “According to your faith, be it done to you.” Where do you choose to place your faith?
Jesus also said, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” When we practice applying the highest and best truth we know, we make a positive difference in our world.
What do you think that means?
For me, it refers to Unity’s 5th Principle: “Knowing and understanding the laws of life, also called Truth, are not enough. A person must also live the truth that he/she knows.”
SO, it’s great to say and think we have faith, hope, in the things that we envision to manifest in our world, BUT…and it’s a nice sized BUT (1 T)…if we do not put any action to the thought, the so-called belief…the things we have HOPE for, that we are placing our FAITH on, if we do not put action behind that faith, all the HOPE in the world will not make it so.
Remember this from last Sunday? Action precedes internal transformation.
There’s a big difference between knowing the PATH and walking it.
Paulo Coelho, the Brazilian Author said, “When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are [some of the] tools God uses to show us the way.”
And Karen Wright, Inspirational Author and Speaker said, “What exactly does it take to live the life of your dreams? Perfect timing? Fortunate opportunities? A million dollars in the bank? Not even close. It takes a decision; a simple decision that will ultimately test the strength of your commitment and the depth of your faith.”
I like to use the word CHOICE…because you always can make another choice.