You may have seen some or all of these images before but I feel it’s time for some funnies! Here are a few humorous images of dogs and cats. They make me smile and I hope they bring a smile to your face as well. Hang in there! xo Hugs, Gina
[with gratitude for these randomly sourced images off Google]
Each and every one of us has the ability to help teach peace in the world, whether we are parents or educators, or not.
We can be an example of how to behave peacefully with friends, family, co-workers, and even strangers we cross paths with.
By offering compassion, kindness, and acceptance with all other beings at all times, we are leading the way for others.
We are demonstrating what kindness is about. That’s what it means to role model. We are being the way-showers. We are teaching peace.
~Remembering the Reason for the Season~
My cherished nativity scene is set prominently in the living room and it reminds of the true meanings of why we celebrate and give gifts to each other. Every year, as I carefully remove each of the 12 china statues from its place in the storage case, I play the song ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ and sing along as I set it up, finishing by placing baby Jesus on his manger.
In 1993, Richard Paul Evans published a book called The Christmas Box and by 1995 it reached Number 1 on the NY Times bestseller list. Also in 1995 it was made into a television movie starring Richard Thomas and Maureen O’Hara, still incredibly beautiful at 75. The movie is a favorite of mine, and I want to share a part that especially touches me. (Spoiler alert)
She persisted, and as her health began to fail, he struggled with what the correct answer was. Feeling he’d figured it out, he came to her. He asked, “Is the answer ‘Love’?” She smiled and said, “That’s very close, Richard.” Days passed and other things were happening to Richard, aiding in his personal growth and maturity. Suddenly he had it. He went to her bedside and proclaimed that he now knows what the first gift of Christmas was: “A child.” The lovely and wise elderly woman nods and beams at him, as he finally understands.
May we all remember that God so loved the world that he gave us Jesus Christ, whose spirit lives on within us. As we celebrate, let us remember to say Happy Birthday Jesus at this time of year when we acknowledge his birth. Oh come let us adore him.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
[Images not mine; unable to find source]
“Let’s pause for a moment to give thanks”
With these words spoken as everyone sits down at the table, you present the opportunity to say Grace. If the individuals gathered around your dinner table this holiday season are from diverse religions or beliefs, you can still say a few words of thanksgiving to mark the occasion without making guests feel awkward. Perhaps it can be a chance for sharing more than one grace or blessing of the meal.
Here are a few Christian examples, including nice ones for a child to recite:
Bless us O Lord, for these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful. Amen.
Bless us O Lord, for these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
God is great, God is good. Let us thank him for our food.
By his hand, we are fed; Give us, Lord, our daily bread. Amen.
Thank you God for happy hearts, for rain and sunny weather.
Thank you God for this food and that we are together. Amen.
Thank you for the world so sweet. Thank you for the things we eat.
Thank you for the birds that sing. Thank you, God, for everything.
Non-religious people may still want to give thanks before a special meal. Anyone can say more than just Bon Appétit! Expressing appreciation of the company and gratitude for the food is all that is needed. Or this may be an opportunity to go around the table and have each person say what they are grateful for.
The Quaker tradition of “silent grace” before a meal works well for a dinner party with people of diverse beliefs. All present join hands in a circle around the table, and are silent for half a minute or so as they collect their thoughts, pray or meditate. Then the host or hostess gently squeezes the hands of the people seated closest. This signal is quickly passed around the table and everyone begins to eat and talk.
Here is a lovely Buddhist Meal Gatha that is secular:
We receive this food in gratitude to all beings
Who have helped to bring it to our table,
And vow to respond in turn to those in need
With wisdom and compassion.
A Native American thanks giving: We give thanks for the plants and animals who have given themselves so that we can enjoy this meal together. We also give thanks for our family and friends who have traveled here today. May this meal bring us strength and health.
Lastly, here’s a short and simple humanist benediction: For the meal we are about to eat, for those who made it possible, and for those with whom we are about to share it, we are thankful.
Saying a few words to express and encourage gratitude is a delightful way to begin any meal. I hope these examples help you to find one, or a combination of any, that will work well with your gathering.
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John Alexander McCrae (November 30, 1872 – January 28, 1918) was a Canadian poet, physician, author, artist and soldier during World War I and a surgeon during the Second Battle of Ypres. He is best known for writing the famous war memorial poem “In Flanders Fields”.
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote it on May 3, 1915, the day after he witnessed the death of his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who was 22 years old. The poem was first published in December of that year in the London-based magazine Punch.
Review by Marya Jansen-Gruber, of the children’s book “A Poppy Is To Remember” at Through The Looking Glass
Excerpt: “This beautifully and simply written book draws our attention to why we recognize this day, how the poppy became a symbol of remembrance, and it tells the story of one special young man who wrote a poem which has moved generations of people with its beauty and eloquence. Ron Lightburn’s unaffected and often luminous oil paintings compliment the text very well.”
Click here to visit the Amazon.ca page for this lovely children’s book about John McCrae and his powerful poem.