Tag Archives: blessings

God Bless Us, Every One!

I posted a version of this last Christmas. But given the growing level of selfishness and hatred seen in human interactions today, these themes bear revising and revisiting. Enjoy!

For me, it’s just not Christmas without A Christmas Carol. I love getting caught up in the story of greed gone good and the most sacred of human redemptions. I watch EVERY version of the movie that has ever been made. The classic Alastair Sim version is still my favorite. But I even admit to enjoying the cartoon Carols with Mr. Magoo and the Smurfs…and the ultra-cheesy Ebbie with Susan Lucci.

At the beginning of the story, Dickens says “I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book to raise the Ghost of an Idea.” Just what idea Dickens had in mind I do not know. But the idea I am left with after reading the tale…the idea I’d like to raise …is this:

Every human, every one, stands in need of redemption. None of us is without flaw or foible. Like it or not, we depend upon the grace of God, the bounty of creation and the generosity of others to live life, let alone to live it well. We are saved by these connections. And ourselves being saved, we are called upon to share the gift of connection and salvation with each other.

When little Tiny Tim, out of the abundance of his heart, proudly proclaims the most recognized holiday wish since “We bring you tidings of great joy,” he gave such a gift.  “God bless us, every one.” In context, the boy was offering his special prayer for those he loved. But Dickens and I have a deeper message in mind.

God bless us, everyone! Yes, literally everyone! Wishing well to those who would do the same for you is easy. But it’s difficult, nigh impossible, to wish blessing upon those who hurt us or wish us ill. Yet that is the nature of the love of which divine blessing is made. No one on this planet is beyond the reach of divine blessing. And no one on this planet should try to change that.

The reason is simple…and from a certain perspective, selfish. Divine blessing…divine love…is given freely without condition or limit. But when asking for this blessing, we most often pray the easy, narrowly focused “God please give us” prayers. Easy prayers center us on the ones being blessed rather than on the one giving the blessing. In doing so, they turn divine blessings into all too human “good wishes.”

Praying such easy prayers closes off the heart and cripples our ability to give and receive the love of which blessings are made. Praying the difficult prayer opens our hearts to God and to others in a bond of mutual respect and shared communion. Love thy neighbor is great. But love thy enemy is an uphill climb…especially if the hurt they’ve caused is fresh and the pain intense.

There is nothing wrong with asking this love for our families, friends, selves and those like us. However, unless we can pray the same prayer for one who hates us (not just for one you hate), then we don’t know how deeply and profoundly the blessing for which we are asking runs. We will never truly know divine love until we can share it with the one who our human heart would rather avoid or even  harm in return.

So in this holiday season, dare to pray a bolder prayer.

“God bless us! Every one!

“God, bless those I love and those who love me. Bless all those who have my best interest at heart. Bless those who make your world a better place simply by being in it. Bless those who make my life shine!

“But God, also bless those who hate and spitefully use us. Bless those who find me foolish and without value. Bless those who see my opinions…or even my existence…as trivial. Bless those who see themselves as the world’s greatest blessing.

“Bless those who make my life hell. Bless those I cannot bless because even seeing them darkens my spirit. Bless those who have hurt me most deeply, even those who hurt me in your name. Bless those with whom I will never agree!

Bless those who destroy for destruction’s sake. Bless those whose actions tear at our hearts and preoccupy our minds with humanity gone wrong. Bless those who would obliterate the best in us…the best and most innocent among us. Bless those who know naught but evil, and bless us so that we will never be or be impacted by such as that.

“Bless those who would never think…or want…to ask for your blessings themselves.”

Perhaps this change in the focus of our prayers will open the door to new community, connection and cooperation in 2013. Individually, as a nation and a world, we are in desperate need of this blessing!

One of my other favorite things about A Christmas Carol is that Dickens chose Ebenezer as the first name of his redeemed character. The word translates literally from Hebrew as “Stone of Help.” In Old Testament times, such stones were raised to memorialize places and times when God intervened for the good of Israel in ways which no human being could have orchestrated alone. Dickens’ Ebenezer was graced with such an intervention for his good…and subsequently became the source of good interventions on behalf of others.

In this most sacred of times for so many faiths, let us receive that same grace to transform our hearts to better share love, joy and peace with all. Let us not be like Old Jacob Marley, dead as a door-nail in our spirits. Let us be redeemable and sources of redemption for the Scrooge that would dwell in each of our hearts. God, please do bless us…every one!

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God Bless Us! Everyone!

For me, it’s just not Christmas without A Christmas Carol. I love getting caught up in the story of greed gone good and the most sacred of human redemptions. I also watch EVERY version of the movie that has ever been made. The classic Alastair Sim version is still my favorite. But I even admit to enjoying the ultra-cheesy Ebbie with Susan Lucci. 

Of course, one of the best parts of the whole thing, for me, is when little Tiny Tim, out of the abundance of his heart, proudly proclaims the most recognized holiday wish since “We bring you tidings of great joy.” “God bless us, every one.” In context, the boy was offering his special prayer for those he loved. But Dickens and I have a deeper message in mind.

God bless us, everyone! Yes, literally everyone! Wishing well to those who would do the same for you is easy. But it’s difficult, nigh impossible, to wish blessing upon those who hurt us or wish us ill. Yet that is the nature of the love of which divine blessing is made. No one on this planet is beyond the reach of divine blessing. And no one on this planet should try to change that.

The reason is simple…and from a certain perspective, selfish. Divine blessing…divine love…is given freely without condition or limit. But when asking for this blessing, we most often pray the easy, narrowly focused “God please give us” prayers. Easy prayers center us on the ones being blessed rather than on the one giving the blessing. In doing so, they turn divine blessings into all too human “good wishes.”

Praying such easy prayers closes off the heart and cripples our ability to give and receive the love of which blessings are made. Praying the difficult prayer opens our hearts to God and to others in a bond of mutual respect and shared communion.

There is nothing wrong with asking this love for our families, friends, selves and those like us. However, unless we can pray the same prayer for one who hates us (not just for one you hate), then we don’t know for what kind of blessing we are asking.

So in this holiday season, dare to pray a bolder prayer.

“God bless us! Everyone!

“God, bless those I love and those who love me. Bless all those who have my best interest at heart. Bless those who make your world a better place simply by being in it. Bless those who make my life shine!

“But God, also bless those who hate and spitefully use us. Bless those who find me foolish and without value. Bless those who see my opinions…or even my existence…as trivial. Bless those who see themselves as the world’s greatest blessing.

“Bless those who make my life hell. Bless those I cannot bless because even seeing them darkens my spirit. Bless those who have hurt me most deeply, even those who hurt me in your name. Bless those with whom I will never agree!

“Bless those who would never think to ask for your blessings themselves.”

Perhaps this change in the focus of our blessing requests will open the door to new community and cooperation in 2012. Individually, as a nation and a world, we are in desperate need of this blessing!

So God, please do bless us! Everyone!

 

Look for Blessings and They Will Find You!

It may sound like the tritest of old sayings; but it’s still true.  You get out of life precisely what you put into it. This does not mean that if you invest $100, 00.00 in your child’s college education, she will return each and every cent to you.  It does mean that each experience you have in life is colored by the thoughts, emotions and physical energy that you bring to it.

          Witness this case in point. I was attending a conference in NYC and met some of my old college friends there.  We decided to blow off the last sessions to go see a Van Gogh exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  One friend (let’s call her Julie) absolutely loved Van Gogh and was initially more excited about the exhibit than any of us.

          However, on the way to the museum, she focused on nothing but the negatives around her.  She had lost her sunglasses.  The day was too hot.  The air conditioner in the cab did not work.  The driver was rude to us.  The line was too long.  The people in front of us were speaking too loudly.  You get the idea.

“Julie” went on like that the entire time we were at the museum.  Her bad mood even kept her from appreciating the work one of her favorite artists.  Instead of enjoying the day, she said things like “This does not look like a Van Gogh” and “These paintings do not look much different than the prints in the gift shop” (which, of course, she found to be far too expensive and not done on high quality paper)!

To this day, I have no idea what changed Julie’s frame of mind so radically in such a short time. But if Julie’s goal was to have an pleasant afternoon, then she made several very obvious mistakes along the way.

I.   Looking for the Negative:  As soon as she stepped foot out of her hotel room, Julie was ready for the world to collapse around her.  The expression on her face almost dared it to happen.  It was clear that she had spent a good deal of time thinking or worrying about some upsetting occurrence; and she expected the rest of her day to continue in this negative vein.  (Could it be that just losing her sunglasses put her in such a foul frame of mind?)   

II. Amplify the Negative:  Whatever the causes of her negativity, Julie’s negativity radar was on; and she was fully loaded with the lethal mental weapon that I like to call the “crap seeking missile,” or CSM.  These little buggers can spot a minor irritation in your environment from miles away.  Once they’ve honed in on these irritations, CSM’s amplify them making them stronger and more negative until virtually no happiness or joy can be detected in their wake. 

          Julie soon found targets for her own CSM’s.  The cab driver, her friends and even the artwork that was dear to her heart were all hit by Julie’s negativity.    And once hit, Julie could no longer relate to any of these people or things in a positive way.  She was sure the driver was ripping us off.   She wished we had never invited her to go in the first place. Her whole world, in that moment, was dark and dreary.  And believe me, it was no picnic for us either! 

III. Talking about the Negative:  One of the most difficult things for those of us who were unlucky enough to be stuck in the cab with Julie was that she would not shut up.  No negative thought was left unspoken.  We heard it all.  

More importantly, she heard it all.  Each time those negative words resonated in her own head, she reconfirmed to herself that she was right.  The day was completely and irreversibly a washout; and nothing was going to change that fact.

IV. Dwelling on the Negative:  In spite of our attempts to lift Julie’s spirits and to redirect her towards the good parts of our museum tour, she would have none of it.  She dismissed our encouragement and the beauty all around her.  With dogged determination, she stuck to her lousy mood.  And her day was just what she chose to make it.  An awful time was had by all.

Want to avoid having  Julie episode of your own? Just do the opposite of everything she did!

A.  Look for the Blessing:  Envision your day going exactly as you would want it to go.  Picture it unfolding in vivid color in your own mind.  Let yourself feel as good as you would actually feel if the experience really happened.  These positive feelings will set you up to look for the little blessings in your daily world. 

B.  Share for the Blessing:  Instead of firing CSM’s at your friends or unsuspecting passers-by, find ways to share even the little blessings life brings.  As my friend, Faith, often says, if you are happy, tell your face! Smile and let others share your joy. Look for the good things coming down the road and anticipate them!   Support those around you by being a blessing to them.

C.  Talk about the Good:  Do not keep your blessings to yourself.  Tell people about them. Sure, you will occasionally run into a person who cannot stand your cheerfulness.  But if your cheer is authentic and not faked, then speak on!  Especially tell people when they have brought a blessing into your life.  This may encourage them to pay attention to the ways that they impact others for the good.  They may even begin to look for the blessings in their own lives.

D.  Amplify the Blessing:  Finally, let the blessings that you receive in life become all the more powerful by using them to serve something higher than yourself.  This something will be different for everyone.  Some will serve a community (family, club, workplace, church).  Other will serve a cause (environmental reform, education, peace).  Others are compelled to serve the God that they worship. 

Whatever your motivation(s) are, know that when you place your talents and gifts at the service of something higher than you, you call forth your best and blessed self. 

Dr. Janice Staab is a philosophical counselor and life coach. For more information on her services or to schedule your free consultation, e-mail info@lifesignscoaching.com. You can also check out her Web site at www.lifesignscoaching.com.

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