Unitarian Universalist Jay Abernathy wrote: "We are all blessings to this world. Our work of building bridges of connection by finding and naming and affirming those blessings we are is the work of nurturing our spirits and healing our world."
By long tradition, the three Wise Men or Magi brought their gifts to Jesus on the feast of Epiphany, which was last Friday. I wonder what gifts we can give to our loved ones, this chilly January? By "loved ones", I mean all the people with whom we are in relationship - our families, our friends, the people at work, and members of our beloved Unitarian communities.
Over the past couple of weeks, we have all exchanged many gifts with our loved ones - both material, in the form of Christmas presents, and shared Christmas meals and drinks; and non-material.
I, for example, received a new Great Course on reading Biblical Literature, which I'm finding fascinating, the DVD of Game of Thrones Season 6 (also fascinating, but rather more gory!), a beautiful Swarowski Christmas star to add to my collection, and some Amazon gift vouchers. As a result of which, I am a very happy bunny!
But the gifts that meant the most to me could not be bought. My daughter and her boyfriend came down for a few days, and my son was home too. On Christmas Day, after a gorgeous lunch booked to perfection by my beloved, a peaceful afternoon with the Great British Bake Off Christmas Special, we had cheese and biscuits for tea. Then the four of us (the kids and I, my beloved does not do board games) played some hilarious games of Cluedo. Then we all watched Independence Day: Resurgence.
Not a cross word was said, much laughter and hugging happened. I could not have been happier. The gifts of time and attention and love are priceless.
We can also bring gifts to the wider world - to the chance-met stranger, to the people in our town or village or city, to causes we care about. If you believe, as I do, that every human being has a spark of the divine in them, then we should try to respond to every person we meet as though we are encountering a possible new friend. I wonder how different our world would be, if we tried to bear that in mind in the weeks and months ahead?
Jay Abernathy also wrote: "Each of us has at least one blessing - I believe each of us offers MANY blessings - to this world, in who we are. But sometimes, we and our world might have a difficult time affirming and seeing those blessings.
I invite you to look into yourself and discover again one of your blessings, one of your gifts to the world. Loving, peaceful, generous, compassionate - there are so many traits and blessings. What is yours?
Write that blessing on a piece of paper. Greet yourself in the mirror of your heart with that name.
Share that greeting with another person today."
May 2017 be the year that we discover our gifts, and manage to be a blessing to ourselves, and to the world around us.