This Thanksgiving week, I invite you to reflect upon these words from Brother David Steindl-Rast, who says,
“Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands,
because if we are not grateful,
then no matter how much we have we will not be happy --
because we will always want to have something else or something more.”
Around this time of year, we get bombarded with mass marketing messages that tell us our lives will be a whole lot better with this or that new product. While we can still celebrate the beauty of gift-giving this year, our faith invites us to live from a place of gratitude and generosity, not buying into our culture’s message of “More = Happy.” Thanksgiving invites us to pause to give thanks for the blessings and gifts in our lives. In the immense stress of 2020, this Thanksgiving and holiday season will be different for many of us because of COVID-19. With all that we’ve been through with the pandemic, the economic downturn, and with encountering social and racial injustice, it can feel like the perfect storm of stressors! Practicing gratitude is one way we can connect with the blessings that are already around us, which we can easily take for granted. Another David Steindl-Rast quote points to this truth:
“Everything is a gift.
The degree to which we are awake to this truth
is a measure of our gratefullness,
and gratefullness is a measure of our aliveness.”
When our cup gets empty or our light dims, a quick way to stay connected to gratitude is by recalling a person or persons who have helped to lift our spirits along our path. Albert Schweitzer says,
“At times our own light goes out and is
rekindled by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude
of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
Who are those persons on whose shoulders you stand, without whom you would not be where you are now? Pause for a brief moment today and give thanks for them, whether living or dead. These persons have left an indelible mark on your life. In that spirit, commit to being a blessing for another person or persons. Your commitment doesn’t have to be a big gesture. A smile (or smiling with your eyes because of our masks) or a kind word can go a long way. As Mother Teresa once said, “We can’t do great things; only small things with great love.”
I am grateful for Agape’s grounding in meditation and spiritual practice. I know that, for me, taking time for stillness and contemplative practices are deeply connected to my capacity to tap into gratitude. Nan C. Merrill says:
“In silence, learn to give of yourself, forgive others,
live with gratitude;
then you need not seek inner peace,
peace will find you!”
Remember this Thanksgiving and holiday season to take time for self-care and spiritual practices that connect to stillness and to the depths of your spirit. And remember to give back to those in need and to those causes you care about. It is in those places where gratitude and peace are found in abundance. One fun way to give back to Agape this season of giving and thanks is to consider donating an item (could be a food donation, a service, or something that you make) for our Agape Auction (December 13th at 4:30pm) to benefit the unfoldment of our Agape Spiritual Community. You can do so at this link.
With you in living with gratitude and sharing love in abundance,
Agape Virtual Events and Actions, open to ALL:
Announcing the first ever Auction to benefit Agape Spiritual Community! Have you been missing the food from Dinner Church? Do you have a creative side hobby? This holiday season, Agape invites you to join us--you can donate your goods and services or you can attend our virtual auction or both! Just in time for gift giving, this is your chance to escape the stores while connecting with folks from Agape in a safe and socially-distanced way. To offer food, services, or wares, click this link. Join us on December 13th at 4:30pm via zoom for the virtual auction.
link to the sign-up genius for the auction.
Agape Advent Service with guest Keith Butler
Topic: "Go Get The Whosoevers”
Sunday, December 6 at 4:30pm via Zoom
Keith Butler was born in Virginia where he graduated with an Advanced Studies diploma from Windsor High School. He then went on to study Theatre and Dance with an emphasis in Theatre and a minor in African-American Studies at Old Dominion University. He pursued his love of acting through many performances in Virginia which landed him in Chicago where he eventually landed the role of Kevin in Kevin’s Room, a made for television movie that addressed many topics within the black gay community. While in Chicago he was also hired to be a professional public speaker for Colgate-Palmolive. After being bitten by the professional acting bug he then moved to Los Angeles to act in film and television. You may have seen him in shows like How I Met Your Mother, Commander-In-Chief, Girlfriends or movies like Poseidon and Dreamgirls. Even though he enjoyed the life of Hollywood his heart was always back in Chicago so he moved back in 2009 where resides today with his partner Ron.
Keith is a member of The Lighthouse Church of Chicago where he served as a leader for 3 years. Now Keith focuses on his recovery, enjoys building his life together with Ron and finishing the editing of his first book hopefully to be out in 2021 but most importantly listens for where God wants to use him next.
Agape Christmas Service
Sunday, December 20 at 4:30pm
Join us for Christmas carols and lessons as we prepare our hearts to welcome the birth of Love into the world!
Agape Carols and Christmas Meditation
Thursday, December 24th at 7:15pm
Join us for carols (we'll be taking requests) and a Christmas-themed meditation as we take time in this sacred season to tune into the Christ consciousness embodied by Jesus.
To make a love donation to support the unfoldment of Agape's vision in the world of living and spreading unconditional love, you can donate at the link below, or checks can be made out to "MACUCC" with "Agape" in the memo line (and mailed to 106 Stearns Hill Rd., Waltham, MA 02451).