UNITY OF VANCOUVER
 3814 FRANKLIN ST. VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON 98660 360-696-0996

Great Expectations
 Reverend Bernadette Voorhees
  December 12, 2021

 All Rights Reserved

 



GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Have you ever received a gift and didn’t open it?  You knew something wonderful was inside, but you didn’t open it, look at it, figure out how to use it and show it to your friends. That is what many people have done with Christmas. 

Myrtle Fillmore co-founder of Unity said: “Nothing could be more marvelous—and more unbelievable to the literal minded –than the Bible account of the birth of Jesus.  The star, the angels singing, the shepherds, the wise men traveling from afar—all in homage to a babe born in a manger!  Fairy tales?  Not at all.  We believe the whole account, because we know that the Christ comes not by sense testimony but as a spiritual, invisible presence and that the imaging power of the mind must build up figures by which to convey the idea of His coming within.  Because we know that every gift of the Father has its invisible source in Him, we feel that the idea of Christmas time should be enlarged rather than diminished.”

Today we’re going to talk about 7 special gifts of Christmas.

MEDITATION

Advent wreath: 
As we begin this meditation, gaze upon our Advent wreath.  For today we symbolically light a candle for love.

The Wise Men saw the star; saw the light.  The Wise Men represent all the good ideas in us—thoughts and feelings you build in your soul are never lost.  They travel within to bring gifts as your answers to prayer.

Our hope this Christmas is that our travels even the long ones over the desert experiences of life, lead us to the awareness that Christ lives in all of us.  Now, rest in the silence as we light the candle that represents Christ in you, your hope of glory. 

Now close your eyes and for this holy feast of great expectation and use the power of your imagination and spoken word to cast blessings on all the events of the days ahead; to dedicate yourself to be a willing channel for the expression of Christ consciousness upon the earth.

Silently invite the prospering activity of God to bless your home. Affirm: “I invite the prospering activity of God to flow through me to bless my home with warmth, order and love.” Envision special blessings for children for their dreams, their hopes, their joy, see them surrounded in divine light and behold in them the pure joy and beauty of Christ love.

Divine Love is expressing through Christmas trees everywhere and every revered symbol of this holy season reminds us to affirm that “Divine love graciously and lavishly supplies the beauty of Christmas.”

Invite Divine Mind to inspire you in the selection of gifts.  Affirm: “Divine intelligence guides me in the giving and receiving of gifts.”  Invite Divine Life to bless the preparation of the holiday food.  “Divine love flows through my hands as they prepare every sweet morsel of food and fills every receiver with delight, well-being, and love.” 

Invite God’s presence at every party and gathering of family and friends.  Affirm: “Divine love brings harmony, enjoyment, and healing love wherever 2 or more are gathered in His holy name this season.” As you open your heart and mind to this sacred reality, you let the Christ be born in you this day and every day.

We pray together with the expectation that the Christ as peace will express through every human heart this Christmas so that the earth rejoices in a spirit of Unity.  Affirm: “May the peace, love, wisdom, life, and light of Christ manifest through me into the world this Christmas.” 

May every twinkling Christmas light symbolize our illumined minds and hearts.

In the wonder and beauty of the Christmas season, we pray this morning, prepared to move forward into the activities of this glorious time expressing hope and peace, and full of faith in our indwelling Christ nature to make it so.  Amen.


GREAT EXPECTATIONS

An artist once drew a picture in black and white of a snow scene.  It was a cloudy day.  There were no leaves on the trees.  There were homes in the background, but it was a typical winter scene with clouds in the sky; all dark, gray, and dreary.  Then with a stroke of his brush, the artist added a bit of yellow paint in one of the panes of a window, showing a light coming from inside one of the homes.  With one stroke of his brush, the picture was transformed from gray and bleak to hope.  The birth of the Christ is such a light in the world but like the artist, we must take action and make the ‘stroke’ to put light into our homes and lives.

So often in adulthood our lives become clouded.  We no longer see the magic and wonder a child sees. We feel too old, too worldly too wise, to live and to love freely because we’ve been hurt and now, we know better.  Yet, every Christmastime and every day for that matter, we have a chance to choose to be a window of light and allow the Christ to be born in our consciousness and to shine through us.  Myrtle Fillmore, co-founder of Unity said, “We can learn an important lesson from a child who hangs his stockings by the fireplace for Santa Claus to fill with gifts.  Instead of trying to lessen the faith of the child in the unseen helper, it would be beneficial to us if we learned from him how to ask, stretch forth the empty hand and find it filled.”  Have you ever received a gift and didn’t appreciate the value of it until years later? Sometimes it takes years to truly appreciate a gift and use it. The Christ of you is such a gift. The instant you were born you received many gifts, today I want to talk about 7 gifts of them.

1. The first gift is the gift of Jesus as Christ. Jesus saw his mission as bringing humanity a new concept of God and the truth about the relationship of oneness between God and man. The message is that you’re God’s child- God’s expression; made of the same stuff God is and heir to all God is.  Accepting this gift requires action on our part.  The Christ in us is like gas. You put it into your car’s engine.  It powers the engine for use. That gas exists at the gas station won’t do you much good unless you stop in and fill your tank with it. 

2. The second gift is the gift of eternal life.  You are a spiritual being, living in a spiritual universe governed by divine law. You are more than eternally alive.  You are life expressing.  You are to use this gift to feel fully alive and to give the gift of life to others.  How?  By holding true thoughts about yourself, about a situation, about other people in your mind and focusing your attention on what God can do through you and what is trying to happen in a situation and not on appearances. For example: When things don’t go great at work, instead of getting angry and depressed, give yourself the gift of life. Lift your consciousness to the awareness that you’re not alone.  Emmanuel means God with us.

3. The third gift is the gift of peace.  Jesus was born into a world that had a religion of an eye for an eye— “If you do something to me, I have to get back at you times 10.”  Knowing his oneness with God and opening the gift of the Christ, Jesus said, “My peace I give to you, not as the world gives, but a peace that cannot be taken away.”  There are many situations in our homes, our jobs and in our world that aren’t very peaceful. You can stay down on the human level, put on your boxing gloves and be the last person standing.  Or you can take off your gloves, know your oneness with God and your brother and radiate peace into the whole situation. You, like Jesus, can be a living example of the Christ presence. Peace begins with me and you in the most difficult situations.  Listen to this poem called Each Moment.

Each moment of love, Each moment of giving,
Each moment of joy is a moment of living. 
Each moment of anger, Each moment of lying,
Each moment of resentment, Is a moment of dying. 
All our moments add together, Like the digits in a sum,
And the answer tells us plainly, whether life or death shall come.

4. The 4th gift is joy.  As a Christian, you don’t have to be solemn, feel heavy burdened and suffer.  Jesus taught that no matter what’s going on in your life, God is there.  He also taught that you must take action and ‘look’ beyond material appearance and know it’s all God. It’s all in divine order.  We are to remain awake and to continually reconcile the invisible and visible aspects of God by putting a light in our mind’s window and letting our light shine out to the world.

5. The 5th gift is wisdom.  Wisdom is the knowledge that your mind is only a receiver of Divine Mind, as Jesus said, “It is not I but the Christ within that does the work.”  If we haven’t learned to appreciate and use this gift, we only receive information from our human mind and from other human minds around us. Divine ideas enter your mind the same way they entered Jesus’ mind. You must take action and be still and know that I AM God in prayer, mediation, and the silence. Open your mind to God and the ideas and guidance will come to you clearly.

6. The 6th gift is courage.  Courage is the ability to stand firm in your awareness of who and what you are.  The ability to express your Christ self through adverse situations.  What we call adverse situations are opportunities to grow in spiritual stature little by little.

7. The 7th gift is divine approval. When you open, appreciate, and use this gift, you won’t slip back into old messages received from limited human minds.  You are a child of God not a worm of the dust.  Jesus said, “An heir to God, beloved of God.”  You already have divine approval. Stay in touch with God through mediation and prayer. Be about your Father’s business and remember, what other’s think of you, is none of your business.

As Christians we use symbols like the manger but it’s important that we don’t turn the symbol into a literal meaning and let the Babe born in the manger over 2000 years ago be a past event. 

The Christ is being reborn right now into the animal consciousness of human thinking. It is being reborn in hospital rooms where doctors may tell us we can’t get well but with faith in God we do.  Reborn in a society that tells you, that you can’t get work, and with active faith, you do. 

Reborn wherever and whenever you look toward your own inner light and let it shine out through the window of your mind to light the darkness.
 
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