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The Way to a Wonderful Life Message for December 14,  2014

            This coming week beginning at sundown on December 16, 2014 through sunset on December 24, 2014, those of the Jewish faith will be celebrating Hanukkah.  It is unfortunate that this celebration throughout history has been almost exclusive to Jewish people as what is being celebrated is of significance to everyone who desires to develop a deep and confident faith in the Love and Law of G-d.  Hanukkah is in celebration of the Power for Good versus its opposite ... and the demonstration that resulted as a consequence of faith.

            Most people of the Christian faiths as well as those who have studied the Law of Attraction and other metaphysical philosophies, are familiar with the truth statement from Hebrews 11:1 of the New Testament Bible: "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  This "substance" is the crystallization of thought into form ... faith is thought.  When faith becomes our dominant thought substance is formed.  This may take the form of whatever faith selects.  This "form" becomes the "evidence" of things not seen.  In other words Love points us to faith and Law makes the corresponding conditions that "cause" creation.

            The Master Mind Jesus understood at a deep level ... we know this from his works ... this interaction of creative energy of Love working through Law to give form to "substance."  He also understood the significance of the spiritual demonstration of faith that was the cause for the Hanukkah celebration. 

            Craig S. Keener, author and Professor Ashbury Theological Seminary writes:  "John's Gospel is probably the fourth of the four extant first-century Gospels. It is John's Gospel that reports that Jesus came to Jerusalem for the festival of dedication -- that is, Hanukkah. Anti-Semites later abused this Gospel, but today scholars (and most other readers) recognize that anti-Semitic abuses run counter to the work's original purpose. Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, most scholars whose research focuses on this Gospel have understood its themes and language as strongly Jewish; some have argued that it is the most Jewish of the surviving Gospels. Many scholars (including myself) regard this Gospel's accounts of conflicts with some members of the Judean establishment as an intra-Jewish debate -- a debate among Jewish people with differing visions for what their faith should mean.
        Scholars explore many of these issues, but what matters most for the present purpose is a particular Jewish element in this Gospel. John's Gospel reports Jesus regularly traveling to Jerusalem for Jewish festivals, affirming his Jewish identity and continuity with his heritage. Although this Gospel focuses on major biblical festivals such as Passover (Pesach) and Tabernacles (Sukkot), it also reports that Jesus came to Jerusalem for the Festival of Dedication -- Hanukkah."

        Now, I am not implying that because Jesus celebrated Hanukkah that everyone should too.  I believe that we should all celebrate Hanukkah for the same "reason" that Jesus and the people of the Jewish faith do ... because it is a celebration of spiritual demonstration.  Anything that strengthens our faith will also strengthen our soul ... "faith is the strength of the soul and lost is the person without it" ... is an immutable, universal spiritual law.  And most of us are seeking to experience spiritual demonstration; that is, the good results of our prayers ... the evidence of things unseen.

       The celebration of Hanukkah lasts for eight days ... that is eight days of affirming our faith as we light a candle or turn on the lights of our Christmas trees in observance of this celebration of faith demonstrated.  As we take this action into our mind as Love and Law at work in the universe ... then we shall strengthen our faith ... and realize more fully that behind every material object is a divine idea made manifest.  "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof" and in this knowing at the deep level of realization we can condition our mind to reflect from our soul a greater acceptance of the power that indwells us and the intelligence that each and everyone of us can draw upon with freedom and liberty.  This freedom and liberty is caused by our daily affirmation of G-d's Good made manifest in our own experience and the lives of those we come to know through both personal contact and from knowledge gained from history.  Repetitive recognition of the immutability of Love and Law and then a personal identification with the truth of its power shall insure our own peace and ease as we accept the good results of our prayers and meditations.

        Here is a simple prayer that can be read either silently or out loud each night of Hanukkah that will keep us in tune with the Infinite Love and Power of G-d:
         Blessed are You, Mother-Father G-d, Creator/Power/Intelligence/Spirit of the universe, who has sanctified us with Your Love and Law, and has guided us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.

AND SO IT IS!

Keep the faith!
Rev
. Henry Bates

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