A positive path for spiritual living

Still Celebrating by Rev. Cindy Yamamoto

Fri, 01/01/2021 - 2:36pm -- ccousineau


As I sit here at my desk in this last week of 2020, reflecting, the thought that keeps repeating is “Wow! What a year it’s been.”  Allowing my mind to wander through the calendar months and the days of greatest significance; the biggest events, I find myself returning over and over to this Christmas season.  At first, I think that it is that way just because it’s most recent, but then I realize that it is the joyous culmination of a very full, very rich year.

Personally, this has been a year of great changes for me.  2020 started with saying good-bye to my internship and the beautiful people at Unity Spiritual Center in Lansing where I’d spent the last few months under the mentorship of Rev. Sharon Ketchum.  February was a month for goodbye too, as I spent my mother’s final days on Earth by her side.  She was one of my favorite people on the planet and though I miss her deeply, I know that she is present now in so many ways.  In March, I and the rest of the world said goodbye to many of our normal patterns of living, as we sheltered at home in an effort to stop the spread of a rampant virus.  Looking back now, the first quarter of the year was about goodbyes.

The next quarter was all about new beginnings for me.  In May I accepted the position of senior minister at Unity of Livonia.  I still get a big grin on my face as I relive those times, knowing that from start to finish of the process I was being Divinely guided.  Then, on the 15th of June I graduated with a Masters’ of Divinity from Unity Worldwide Spiritual Institute with 8 classmates and we became the first graduating class to ever have our commencement ceremony via Zoom.  On that same day, along with 30-some others, I was ordained a Unity Minister through Unity Worldwide Ministries; also virtually.  

As I think back to the third quarter of the year, it’s all kind of a blur.  I know there were good times in it as my husband and I both celebrated our birthdays and enjoyed a lot of Michigan’s summer splendor.  If I had to categorize, I would say this quarter was about creativity and growth.  Learning new ways of doing things; everything from being social from a distance, to bringing meaningful spiritual services to others, to connecting with others in ministry to share and learn from one another.  

This last quarter has been a sweet inner journey and reflection for me.  I hope it has for you too.  Instead of feeling tired at the end of a year that’s been anything but normal; (some would even call it challenging or miserable), Advent invited us onto a journey of reawakening.  I’m realizing now that this Christmas spirit is something that I want to carry into the new year.  It doesn’t have to be Advent for us to stand in our faith and remain hopeful.  And what about the peace and love that we pray for?  It can seem illusive when we look at some of the crises in our world.  Yet, during Advent we called peace and love forth in ourselves.  And, joy?  That joy that we celebrate on Christmas morning; we don’t need a special occasion to feel that joy. We are the generators and expressions of the joy, love, peace, and hope that this world needs.

On Christmas Eve, as I retold the story of the birth of Jesus from the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, we lit candles representing the 12 Powers of Man which were demonstrated in the story and we affirmed, “I now awaken to the power of _____ within me.”  What if we vow to stay awake to them? Three days later we celebrated a sacred water (burning bowl) ceremony where we released anything that was not in alignment with our highest good.  We can continue to do this throughout the coming year.  No special ceremonies are necessary.  In a few days I will lead a White Stone ceremony.  We will be invited to see ourselves in full Oneness with the Universe and call ourselves forth into the greatness we have come here to be.  

It’s a new year, but turning the page on a calendar doesn’t change our life experience.  We can choose to live in the Advent and Christmas energy all year.  It’s time for each of us to take the next step on our journey, whatever that may be, and to do so fearlessly, knowing that we are fully equipped to move through this life with hope and faith, in peace, as love, and expressing joy.  We are the co-creators, the givers, and receivers of these.  Choose to wake them up in you each new morning and know that no matter what, you and your life are worth celebrating.  Happy New Year!