Giving is truly an activity of the heart. Indeed, when our hearts are open, we give automatically – we cannot help ourselves. We willingly give our time, our attention, our loving support. In addition, when we do this consciously and joyfully, we witness the bountiful blessings experienced by the giver and receiver, which brings even more joy.
In my experience, giving conditionally, in other words giving in expectation of getting something back, blocks our good, for ultimately it gets in the way of the joy of the experience. For instance, when giving a gift and expecting, but not receiving a thank you letter or acknowledgement, I have felt disappointed and upset. My heart closed and resentment or anger affected my body, mind and heart – not a good thing for me or anyone! I am learning to give simply for the joy of giving. To let any result go is freeing indeed.
This year, my intention is to keep my heart open; be present to everyone and myself, to let the natural love that I am, we are, flow. Being present in this way, I have already witnessed deeper blessings in my relationships, which feel more beautiful because of this.
My question to you is, how can you support yourself to give and receive with an open, loving heart, without any condition attached? Can you see where the giving has been conditional? Perhaps journal, draw or create something that helps you reflect on this for yourself this week and this year. I would love to hear of any realisations you have had; any clarity that has come from this reflection.
The beginning of a New Year is a wonderful time to focus on the good you are looking to experience in the coming year.
This is not a list of resolutions of things you should do. It is a knowing of what you would like to experience more of. Thus, every January, Unity hosts a Burning Bowl Ceremony, leading us through the experience of letting go of what is no longer needed, to make space for the new good that is desired and anticipated. This good which is good for everyone. Although in Unity we normally do this in January in fact this process can be used at any time of year as each day we begin anew.
I dedicate this day to God working perfectly through me.
Take a quiet moment to let these words sink in...
What does this mean to you? Does it mean taking time to be still? Perhaps taking time to dance, sing, play, walk in nature, find a way to help someone. Perhaps it may mean peace, good health, guiding light and other practical ways you can experience God within, through and as you.
You may like to journal your thoughts or be creative and draw or paint something, even build something.
Let yourself be inspired - the light of God shines brightly in you. Celebrate all the ways you can know this, for yourself, today, and every day this year!
Rev Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Daily Word and Silent Unity UK
At this, the darkest time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, life invites us to take lots of quiet, reflective time, to go within to our inner being, step back from the activities of the world, and simply BE. Are you doing this for yourself?
Personally, I feel I am being called to rest and be quiet. There is a new energy coming into the world, and it is only in quietness and stillness that we can really recognise and receive its energy and power. This is witnessed in the Gospels when Jesus took himself apart from the world to pray – to be with his Abba.
As we rest in spiritual stillness, our Pure Self can experience its perfection, its fullness, its true light, which is so much more than our bodies, minds and lives.
At the turn of this New Year, let us all welcome in the abiding experience of our True Being. And know, with gratitude and expectation, that Spirit is working through you, me, all of us, to bring forth the fullness of the Christ energy.
This is the call – this is the awakening invitation … are you listening?
For our deepest joy comes when we really experience our spiritual self that has no separate identity – it simply is and rejoices in Being. Let us rejoice and BE, together.
Rev Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Daily Word and Silent Unity UK
As the New Year turns, and we look back on 2022, many of us will remember times of pure joy as well as times of loss and sadness. This is part of the human experience. Yet, as we teach and live in Unity, we are also spiritual beings.
This eternal part of us knows deep within our being that throughout every experience, in every moment, the activity of God as love, life and wisdom is here to guide, comfort, uplift and support us.
When times are easy, we may not think about the activity of God in our lives. We simply get on and enjoy them. Often, it is when life becomes difficult that we suddenly think about God, even if only to wonder where God is.
We are here, in Silent Unity’s prayer ministry, and through Daily Word, our devotional bi-monthly magazine, to hold the high watch of knowing God as good is here in our midst. Always, unconditionally, keeping us close and revealing our good to us, individually and for all of us as a whole.
Whatever is happening in your life, we are here to support you and gently remind you of the constant, unchanging, pure expression of God, with us always.
We are also here to offer ideas and practices to grow our awareness of our spiritual self, so that we don’t just cope, but thrive, whatever is happening. This is a learning experience for all of us.
To help us do this, at the turn of the year we always offer the experience of letting go, to open, claim and give thanks for our good in the coming year.
This year we are delighted to offer this to you in two different formats:
Let us join together in Unity and welcome the deepening of our spiritual identities as we embrace our human experiences. It is truly our honour and privilege to connect with you as we do.
If you have been joining us in reading this year’s Unity Advent booklet, you will have noticed that many of the readings, particularly in the last week leading up to Christmas Day, have been inviting us to accept, claim and live as the light in the world.
For many, that has not been so easy this year. Yet, the Light is constant within us, here to express as us, to the extent that we can accept, claim and live.
There is no pressure ‘from on high’ here – no demand that we must do this. It is a simple invitation, one that our soul took up when we were born into this world, to know the Light and be the Light.
Jesus, as our Way-Shower and guide, knew this. Yet he also said, do not call me good, for only my Father in Heaven is good. Thus, claiming the light is not an ego trip. In truth, it is a surrender into Spirit, into God, into Pure Love and Wisdom. As we surrender our humanity, the stories of our lives, the human identity, the Light becomes us. Moreover, as we allow this transformation to occur, we become, as Jesus did, an example for others to follow, so that they, too, can know the Light within and as them.
Therefore, this Christmas, let us all with grace, accept, claim and live the Light, so that others in the potential darkness of human experience, can hear the call to awaken and rejoice in their divinity.
Take time each day to rest in the silence, making space within heart, body and mind to know the Light. What a perfect gift this is for ourselves and our world, this Christmas.
Rev Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Daily Word and Silent Unity UK
As we near Christmas we recognise what we can give to others. When we look to the divine with all our heart, we connect with a divine essence. In the Christmas carol ‘ In the Bleak Midwinter, one verse describes being poor and having nothing to give the Christ child. Instead the writer gives the only thing she has, her heart. This is the last verse of the song and we are left with the image of the writer handing her whole life over to the divine. The power of this message is clear even in a few words.
Of course in truth we are never spiritually poor, through giving to God we are richly and abundantly blessed. We tap into our heart and there is the message, the message of God’s love for us, within us and as us. The abundant blessing bestowed on us and the truth that we can never out give God. In the story the writer gives the only thing she can and the most precious thing of all, her own heart. We can be certain that when we truly give our heart to God, dedicating ourselves to this love, we are transformed and receive every blessing. We are filled up, we have enough to give, our cup overflows, we let it flow and we let it bless others.
The story of the Christ child’s birth is a powerful one symbolically, and an image that always stood out for me even as a child was the giving of the gift . Every character in the nativity play has a gift to give; a cuddle toy lamb from the shepherds, a collection of sparkly boxes wrapped up to represent the treasure of the Wise Men.
As a child I often wished that there was a character that arrived without a physical gift. Indeed in some folk versions of the story there is an extra character. Sometimes a poor shepherd boy, other times a holy fool or a young entertainer who makes the child laugh. I learned recently that in parts of southern France they have a tradition of adding extra figures to the nativity set, ‘santons’ or little saints. These figures represent people in the community who they want to honour or thank.
I think this also serves as a reminder that we are part of this story too. We all have a gift to give, to give without expectation or reward, simply with love.
Take a moment to imagine that familiar stable, almost as if we have always known it. The smells of animals, the rough touch of the straw, the sound of hushed voices and angelic singing.
A woman and man stand watching over the manager in wonder. See the figures gathered round, travellers from around the world drawn in by love, a sense of a new hope in the darkness. Overhead we see a bright shining star making night seem like day. A sense of peace, love, and abundant joy. Stay with this image for as long as you wish.
Many blessings to you. Happy Christmas.
Daily Word UK Editor, and Storyteller
In his talk Rev. Ken Bradley explores letting go and awakening to wonder.
Discussing 'The Golden Key' by Emmet Fox and an affirmation to say if something appears lost:
In divine mind nothing is lost, stolen or mislaid. That which is missing is immediately made manifest, or replaced by something of equal value. The talk is followed by a reading of Daily Word from the archives.
In this podcast we share short talks and meditations from Unity teachers.These include regular 'musings' by Rev Ken Bradley, interfaith minister and Unity teacher, based on Daily Word readings and Unity concepts.
As I reflect more deeply, these lights, small as they are, when connected to each other, bring great joy, fun and enrichment to our lives. Metaphysically (in other words looking beyond the physical experience) these lights represent the true light in us. For, as we teach in Unity, every one of us has this divine light at our core – the Christ light within us, our true and beautiful Self, that shines brightly even in the darkest of times.
It is true that some lights are brighter than others are. Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and so on, are examples of how great people live and share their inner light. Yet we all have this light within us, waiting to be ‘switched on’ as it were – by us. We simply need to know the light, claim the light (with humility and awe) and then live by our inner light.
Another important aspect is seeing how these strings of lights represent our connection to each other and indeed, that we only exist as we do through this good connection with each other. The stronger the connection, the brighter the light.
Not one of us is alone when we help each other. None of us feels alone when we give and share our light, love, wisdom and understanding with life around us.
As we enjoy the Christmas lights this season, let us also take time to recognise the light within us, and connect with each other to help call forth the light within us all.
Rev Kimerie Mapletoft
Director of Silent Unity Prayer Ministry and Daily Word, UK
As I listen to the radio, already they are playing Christmas songs. Even though November feels much too early for me, the songs do bring about a sense of cheer and upliftment - well mostly! Which is a good thing. As, for many of us, the year has been a difficult one, with perhaps the thought: how will this change, how can I get through this, when will life get better?
It is all too easy to feel bogged down, especially when the news focuses on problems far more than solutions and all the good things that are happening. As I reflect on this, especially at this time of year, I believe that something new wishes to be born in us. Life is offering us the opportunity to live in a new way, respond in a new way and serve in a new way. The old ways of living, of exploitation, greed and ‘my needs must be met ahead of yours’, is calling to be changed.
This, in many ways, is what Jesus represents; it is certainly how he lived. As a Jew, he was born into a time when their lives were under strict commandments and laws, 613 to be precise. However, any laws, if lived without love, are meaningless. In Matthew 5:17 it is written that Jesus told his disciples, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish but to fulfil.”
So how do we fulfil the law? With love and wisdom. Seeking to connect with each other and with life in a way where all can be honoured, respected and blessed. This was Jesus’ ministry and it can be ours as well.
As we prepare for Christmas through this season of Advent, to celebrate the birth of Jesus and, as we describe in Unity, the re-birth of the Christ energy within us, we can ask of ourselves, ‘What wants to be born anew in me?’ Take a moment to think about this for yourself. Pausing in our lives, as the Advent season invites us to do, makes space for us to hear the still small voice of God and feel the love that is God, encouraging us and guiding us.
Perhaps there is the desire in you to open your heart more fully with compassion and insight … perhaps there is the desire in you to learn something new to help you serve in a new way … perhaps there is a desire in you to reconnect with the land in a way that is harmonious, inclusive, caring, nurturing and wise.
Whatever it is, God, as the Christ light and energy, is seeking to be born in us, just as this energy was born and lived through Jesus. It may feel like a huge call. However, as we take small steps to enable this, our whole planet will come back into balance and harmony, because we will be living in balance and harmony with each other and ourselves.
So, what wants to be born in you this Christmas? Take time to pray, reflect, listen and realise the Truth that abides in you and how you can live that Truth in your own unique and amazing way. I know, because you are reading these words, that you are making space even now to know this.
My friends, may your Advent season be a time of renewal through faith, peace, love and joy. In addition, may each one of us know the birth of the Christ energy in us more deeply than ever before. This is the calling. Let us each respond. Have a beautiful and blessed Christmas.
Unity in the UK