Daylights Savings Time ends on November 5, 2017, at 2:00 AM when we “fall back” by setting our clocks back one hour. Although many enjoy an “extra” hour of sleep this weekend, many feel a bit of melancholy as the sun sets earlier and nightfall appears to shorten our day. During this time of the year, we begin to prepare to bring light into our experience as we enter the seasons of gratitude and advent. During the Thanksgiving holiday, we are invited to practice acts of gratitude as we call forth from within the light of appreciation. In preparation for Christmas, the illuminating awakening of the birth of the Christ within, we are beckoned to animate the lights of faith, peace, love, and joy.
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution to designate November to be National Native American Heritage Month. Thanksgiving is a popular and cherished holiday in the United States. However, to Native Americans it is a day of mourning. Thanksgiving is a day when Native Americans hold in hallowed remembrance their ancestors who perished in a genocide and lament over the oppression of native people that began when European settlers colonized North America. During the month of November, many Native Americans vow to leave to posterity their sacred customs and traditions. In the following passage, White Feather, a native American Navajo, shares eloquently what is venerated:
“We believe everything is sacred from the largest mountain to the smallest plant and animal. A lesson can be found in all things and experiences and everything has a purpose. To sum up Native Spirituality; it is about honor, love, and respect. Not only do we love, honor, and respect our Creator and our Mother Earth, but also every living thing. It is about being in touch with ourselves and everything around us. It is about knowing and understanding that we are part of everything, and everything is a part of us. We are all One. We also believe that our Elders hold the answers. Our Elders keep our culture alive. We have much to learn from our Elders, and they deserve and receive our utmost respect.”
We the people of this great land can join our Native American brothers and sisters in holding with devoted reverence the natural world and the sacred worth of all sentient beings. There are many ways you can enshrine the light of appreciation by caring for our planet, embracing diversity in others, and honoring our elders and our ancestors.
Cloaked in the energy of appreciation, may you welcome the month of December and the practice of embodying the lights of advent. Each week of advent is symbolized by a Divine quality. During the first week, boldly examine where you are placing your Faith and set the intention to be led by the voice of Divine Wisdom within. Peace, is the luminous focus of the second week. Take time each day to find inner stillness that comes when you release the busyness of the world and rest in the breath of the Divine. In a place of quietude, ask how may I be the living prayer of peace? Entering the third week of advent, you are called to walk in the light of the harmonizing power of love. What may need harmonizing in your life? Dare to listen to your Authentic Self and take the necessary actions that will empower you to be the unifying presence of love. During the last week of advent, may you ignite the candle of joy within your soul. When you remember what you truly are, the light of the world, joy will naturally arise as your heart becomes filled with zeal as you spring forth with enthusiasm spreading good cheer and joy.
As we embrace the coming of cold, crisp air, earlier sunsets, and the history of our nation, let us rise as emissaries of light. Let us stand on the shoulders of our Native American ancestors and hold sacred the natural world, may we sanctify all life with reverence, and may we boldly be the light of faith, peace, love, and joy.