I’m writing this post on Christmas Eve 2019. This is one of my favorite times of the year as I anticipate the candlelight service coming this evening. NO matter where I am in my heart, I don’t think I’ve ever missed a candlelight service in adulthood. It is a time where my heart will be once again filled with joy and hope–a time where no matter what challenges I have faced in the year, it reminds me that individuals can make a difference and that there is a community of people who are always striving to make the world a better place. My husband and I are in the choir and we will be singing several wonderful pieces of music. But the one that always brings a tear to my eye is the last one–Silent Night, sung with the Peace descant. If you are not familiar with it. Here are the words for the descant and my wish for all of you.
Peace on earth and good will to all.
This is a time for joy.
This is a time for love.
Now let us all sing together of peace.
Peace on earth.
There are also two other celebrations happening this week that celebrate dedicating ourselves to be the best, moral, loving people we can be.
On Sunday Chanukah (Hannukah) began, celebrating the festival of lights. A good friend explained to me that it was commemorating the rededication of the Temple in 165 BC. But for him, it also meant a personal rededication to honoring the Temple within us all. He quoted a previous Rebbe as to the messages of lighting the candles. I’ve summarized them here. 1. Never be afraid to stand up for what’s right. 2. Always increase in matters of goodness. 3. A little light goes a long way.No matter how dark it is outside, a single candle of goodness can transform the darkness itself into light. 4. Take your faith to the streets. Chanukah teaches us to shine outwards into our surroundings. 5. Be like a menorah, proudly proclaiming its radiant uniqueness for all to see. I can take many lessons from these five meanings. I see these as universal truths in many ways.
Kwanzaa begins December 26th and goes through the New Year. Though a celebration and reminder of the seven principles at this time of year, it also asks participants to practice those principles all year long: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith). Once again, I see these as universal principles that all humans would benefit from practicing.
It has been a difficult year for me and many. Whenever politics become so divisive, it seems to place a darkness over everything. That is been the case not only in the U.S. but in other places in the world as well. There are times that the vitriolic discourse it makes it difficult for me to have hope for the future. As I was contemplating how to start this blog post, our minister, Rev. Jill McCallister, sent out an email this morning that truly captured why this time of year is so important whether you are a believer or an athiest. I’d like to share her words with you here because they really touched me and, like the celebrations of Chanukah and Kwanzaa above, it holds some universal truths.
“I have shared several readings recently from Jan Richardson, A Methodist minister, artist and writer. This one has been especially helpful for me: ‘The joy that this season offers to us is something quite other than a false or forced kind of cheer that overlooks the difficult circumstances of the world or of our own lives. It comes instead as a grace that enables us to stand in the midst of sorrow or pain or chaos, to acknowledge and name them, while refusing to let them have the last word. This season asks us to trust that something is at work in a way we cannot see clearly but in which we are asked to participate, that we might be part of how it arrives.’“The most important thing we can do is to give our best to the world — to ourselves, to others, to all living things, to the Earth. To be with each other in ways that nurture well-being. Everyday we can let a little more goodwill live through us. This is both the challenge and the gift — not only of this season, but of Life.”
Sharing My Essays of the past Six Months
Personal and Self Help Stories
Thanksgiving Bread https://medium.com/publishous/thanksgiving-bread-62868e86667f
Binding the Energy of Stillness https://medium.com/the-ascent/binding-the-energy-of-stillness-9e42efec5e54
Is Unconditional Love Possible? https://medium.com/publishous/is-unconditional-love-possible-31f67bdb5cfd
Are the Best Marriages Primarily Chemistry or Friendship? https://medium.com/publishous/are-the-best-marriages-primarily-friendship-or-chemistry-61e04e99e23b
Stress Is Not Always Bad https://medium.com/publishous/stress-is-not-always-bad-87523ffb6cfa
Who to Believe When Health Claims Are Made https://medium.com/publishous/who-to-believe-when-health-claims-are-made-7fba3ce8fa80
Caregiving vs Caretaking https://medium.com/publishous/caregiving-vs-caretaking-103178c9e056
The Romance of Sleeping Separately https://medium.com/publishous/sleeping-separately-49206c60d7e0
Mea Culpa: A Meditation on privilege and prejudice https://medium.com/the-ascent/mea-culpa-a067476144f3
Links for Writers
Writer’s BLock: Diagnosis & Prescription https://medium.com/publishous/writers-block-diagnosis-prescription-ed1072126ade
Introversion vs Extroversion: Using your personality type to succeed as an author https://medium.com/publishous/introversion-vs-extroversion-ffc4d093332a
Intuiting vs Sensing: Using the MBTI to become a better writer https://medium.com/publishous/sensing-vs-intuiting-c4fef68f571e
Thinking vs Feeling https://medium.com/publishous/thinking-vs-feeling-aef68d55aec2
Judging vs Perceiving https://medium.com/publishous/judging-vs-perceiving-f082673032cc
What Are You Willing to Do for Your Dream Job https://medium.com/@maggiemcvaylynch/what-are-you-willing-to-do-for-your-dream-job-4178f56a8d8d
The Changing World of Author Creations and Publishing https://medium.com/publishous/the-changing-world-of-author-creations-and-publishing-7a9ee956bdbe
How Comparisonitis Can Make Your Career But Kill Your Dream https://medium.com/publishous/how-comparisonitis-can-make-a-career-but-kill-your-dream-d252dff2b189
Do Writer’s Need a Brand? https://medium.com/publishous/do-writers-need-a-brand-5c062054b499
Why is “crappy” writing rewarded? https://medium.com/publishous/why-is-crappy-writing-rewarded-de840553b297
Is Social Media Required to be a Successful Author? https://medium.com/publishous/is-social-media-required-to-be-a-successful-author-af9ce99bc01a
The Truth About Marketing Books https://medium.com/publishous/the-truth-about-marketing-books-9059268ad8f8
What Has Not Worked in Book Marketing https://medium.com/publishous/what-has-not-worked-in-book-marketing-3cf35e76e5e6
Judging Writing Quality https://medium.com/publishous/judging-writing-quality-b85ffde07aef
How Much Should Authors Worry About SEO? https://medium.com/publishous/how-much-should-authors-worry-about-seo-178928ce59f4#80c9
Marketing and Networking for the Shy Author https://medium.com/publishous/marketing-and-networking-for-the-shy-author-a14ca227bf8b
How to Use Reading to Become A Better Writer https://medium.com/publishous/how-to-use-reading-to-become-a-better-writer-f21d2bc08a39
How to Use Triggers to Write a Better Article https://medium.com/publishous/how-to-use-triggers-to-write-a-better-article-910574c95579
Why Writers Need an Email List https://medium.com/publishous/why-writers-need-an-email-list-467307023eec
How to Choose the Right Email Marketing Provider https://medium.com/publishous/how-to-choose-the-right-email-marketing-provider-9a16bd82dc6f
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