Sermons by Rev. Bonnie
Step Into the Light
December 9, 2007
December. Holiday time for many faith traditions. Some of you may have heard of a holiday that occurs at the end of December called Christmas. There is also the Hindu religious holiday of Divali (which this year occurred in November). Pagans celebrate Yule. There is the African-American cultural holiday of Kwanza. And there is the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
All of these celebrations employ the use of light in some way.
I don’t really think it is a coincidence that so many faith traditions celebrate holy-days in December that have to do with light. At Christmas there are tree and house lights. Divali, the Festival of Lights, celebrates life, family and the power of good over evil. It also symbolizes knowledge, hope, happiness and success.
On Kwanza we light seven candles, each one a different color representing one of seven principles, such as self-esteem, creativity and unity. And on the Pagan holiday of Yule, which takes place on the longest night of the year, followers stay up to watch the sun rise, celebrating the return of light.
On Hanukkah—also known as the Festival of Lights—a candle is lit every night, with eight candles aglow on the final evening. Hanukkah is the celebration of both a military victory of the few over the many (or the oppressed over the oppressors) and of the “miracle of the oil” where oil in the Temple lamp that was only enough to last for one day lasted for eight days. And, as I have mentioned before—most Jewish holidays have a common theme…what is it?? “They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat!!!”
Each of these traditions has hope and faith in the renewal and return of light at is core. They all occur, at least in our hemisphere, in the season where there is the least amount of daylight hours.
Today I’m going to talk about light. Not the external sunshine light, but the light that shines from within. Our Inner Light—the light that comes when we walk in our Oneness with Spirit. And, I will offer some helpful tips on how to fan the flame and keep our inner light shining strong.
A decade or two ago, an ailment suffered by many people was medically recognized. It is called “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or SAD. Is anyone familiar with it? Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that tends to occur (and recur) as the days grow shorter in the fall and winter. It is believed that affected persons react adversely to the decreasing amounts of light and the colder temperatures as the fall and winter progress. Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include tiredness, fatigue, depression, crying spells, irritability, trouble concentrating, body aches, loss of sex drive, poor sleep, decreased activity level, and overeating. Seasonal affective disorder seems to develop from inadequate bright light during the winter months. Researchers have found that bright light changes the chemicals in the brain. Treatment calls for, among other things, a light box that people sit in front of for thirty minutes or so a day.
Now, all of this got me to thinking—what if we all had a source of Light that we knew was permanent? It didn’t require batteries, or electricity, or even airline tickets to the Caribbean. Its source never ran out. It didn’t cost money. And anyone could partake of it. As my people have been known to say “Such a deal!”
Anyone here ever watch the show “Ghost Whisperer”? Jennifer Love Hewitt stars as a woman who is able to communicate with the dead. Specifically with people who have not yet crossed over. She helps them resolve their unfinished business, and when they have reached that goal, a white light appears in the distance and they walk into it with a clear heart and mind. People who have lived through near-death experiences also speak of a brilliant light that called to them.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross once said, “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.” That ‘light from within’ is available to us with each breath we take.
How do we tap into that ‘light from within”? How do we bring that “near death experience” to the land of the living?
I invite you to consider the following three steps:
1. Set the intention that our highest good is unfolding at all times.
2. Live from overflow not from lack
3. Release what is not in our best interest
1. Set the intention that our highest good is unfolding at all times.
Rabindranath Tagore, Indian philosopher, visual artist, playwright, novelist, and composer wrote that “Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.” That bird has set an intention to feel the light and sing, even in the darkness. It is keeping the faith that dawn will come and is acting in that certainty. What would each of our lives look like if we set the intention to sing each day? Rain, shine, fog, or gloom—we just sang? That’s what it feels like when we step into the light of knowing our highest good is unfolding.
You see, what I have learned is that Spirit or G-d or our Higher Power doesn’t make mistakes. Our humanness makes the mistake in how we choose to interpret these life events. Ever been in your car in a hurry to get someplace (no—no one here in the DC area is ever in a hurry!!)? And inevitably every traffic light is red, or we get behind the slowest driver this side of the Mason Dixon line, or there’s a huge traffic jam and we are not going anywhere fast. Choice point. a) nothing ever goes my way or b) thank you Holy Spirit for keeping me and everyone near me safe from my crazy driving. Was the delay in my highest good, or was I once again choosing to be the victim? Was I singing knowing that the dawn would come, or was I choosing to stifle my voice and give in to fear? This is an opportunity for us to ask ourselves “Which choice will serve my highest good?” It does take some practice, we all get frustrated when we believe we are not getting what we wanted or thought we deserved. And, this is the invitation to just “give it to God” and get out of God’s way.
So Step #1, Set the intention that our highest good is unfolding at all times
Step #2 Live from overflow not from lack.
In my pre-reverend days, I owned a company that designed and delivered diversity training to organizations and institutions all over the metro DC area. It wasn’t unusual in the training sessions to have participants engage with one another in what I called the “Hierarchy of Oppression.” It goes something like this: My people or group are more oppressed than your people or group. How dare you say that you should have the same rights or laws or considerations as we do. We have it much worse off. My black and blue marks are bigger, wider, deeper, bloodier, and more infected than yours!
Imagine—bickering over who was the biggest victim. I know that once upon a time I was right there in the midst of the fray myself—trying to win the biggest martyr award for being Jewish, or gay, or female. So much energy wasted. This is also known as the theory of scarcity or lack. If we believe that there is not enough to go around—we will create the reality that there is not enough to go around. If we believe that not only is there enough, but that there is more than enough—that is the reality we create. Our inner light is fed fuel when we know that the Universe gives us all that we ask for. And, we have to be careful what it is we ask! Have you ever known someone who says, “It would just kill me if…” or “I couldn’t bear it if…” That is an example of living from lack. God didn’t bring us this far to leave us.
When the Dalai Lama was given the Congressional Gold Medal this past October, on it was inscribed, “World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not the absence of violence. Peace is the manifestation of compassion.” As we use Step #2—“live from overflow,” we build up our inner light, and we radiate inner peace.
And, Step #3: Release what is not in our best interest.
What happens when we eat something that doesn’t agree with us? Well, let’s just say it comes out one end or the other! Our body feels poisoned and does what it can to purge itself of whatever it is that is causing our system distress. What if we could do that in other areas of our lives—not just physical? What would we purge from our mental level—that is what thoughts are poisoning us? How about our emotional level—what feelings are causing our body and psyche harm? And our spiritual level—how are we separating ourselves from Spirit in a way that is leaving us in the dark? Do we need to release people? Our choice of employment? Our habits? Our regrets? Our fears or worries? How do we even know what is in our best interest? As the Course on Miracles states, we are here for giving and for getting love. Do our thoughts, feelings, spiritual practices or lack thereof keep us from knowing and most importantly Being love? Do they have our inner light shining at 10 watts when we know that we are capable of being a floodlight? Not only are we capable of unlimited wattage, we were created to be unlimited in our wattage. So, Step #3: Release what is not in our best interest.
Kahlil Gibran wrote, “Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart”. In this season of holy-days where there is more dark outside than light—I invite all of us to tap into our permanent and unlimited source of light. To step into the light. Step into the light knowing that our highest good is unfolding at all times. Step into the light knowing that we can live from overflow not from lack. Step into the light knowing that as we release what is not in our best interest we move closer to our Oneness with our Creator. The closer we move, the more blinding in intensity our light becomes. The more peace we know. The more love we are open to give and receive.
I wish you all Blessings on your journey of light. Illuminate yourself. Illuminate the world. Shalom.
© 2019 Bonnie J. Berger. All rights reserved.