Tis the season to bless others

Published 11:27 pm Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Last week we went over the river and through the woods to Thanksgiving and then flew around Black Friday. And though advertisements started days ago, for me this week ushers in the Christmas season.

Today, the world outside looks like Christmastime in south Alabama, the air filled with misty coolness. One such a day, I am happy to be comfortable inside my house contemplating the days ahead.

As I sat planning in my head for decorating the house and baking goodies, I also thought about feelings that come with this season of the year. That, I think, is the reason I enjoy the holidays.

Sure news stories talk about the stress associated with cooking, shopping, parties, traveling and other activities we sometimes allow to overwhelm us in the hours leading up to the big day. Still, hidden in the hustle and bustle is the spirit of blessing and joy.

That makes it the perfect time consider the topic of a book I am reading, The Gentle Art of Blessing by Pierre Pradervand. The book is about genuinely wishing the best for others by making a conscious decision to bless every person around you, even those you might find difficult to bless.

I like that, and decided December is a good time to develop a blessing practice of my own. The season, after all, celebrates the birth of a man who unconditionally loved and blessed others.

As I read, I discovered the practice of blessing is not complicated, does not require lots of time and claims no certain religion as its own. It is a universal practice anyone can explore.

The author writes from more than 20 years of experiencing the benefits of blessing. He says it changed his life and believes it can change our world. Now that is something worth considering.

Here are some suggestions for incorporating blessing into daily life.

On awakening, bless the day because it is full of unseen good if we choose to look for it.

On passing people in the street, in the car, in the grocery store, bless them. The peace of a blessing goes with them.

On meeting people and talking with them, bless them in all areas of their lives. Such blessings not only sow seeds in their lives but also spring forth flowers in your own life.

As you walk, bless your city, its government, teachers, nurses, street sweepers, children, bankers even its criminals. Bless them totally, sincerely, joyfully for such blessings shield and protect from ignorance of any misdeeds and deflects any arrows aimed at you.

Of course, don’t forget to bless the utterly beautiful person that you are.

He further defines blessing.

“To bless means to wish, unconditionally and from the deepest chamber of your heart, unrestricted good for others and events; it means to hallow, to hold in reverence, to behold with awe that which is always a gift from the Creator…

“To bless without distinction is the ultimate form of giving, because those you bless never know from whence came the sudden ray that burst through the clouds of their skies, and you rarely witness the sunlight in their lives…

“To bless is to acknowledge the omnipresent, universal beauty hidden from material eyes… It is impossible to bless and judge at the same time. So hold constantly as a deep hallowed, intoned thought the desire to bless, for truly shall you become a peacemaker, and one day you shall behold everywhere the very face of God.”

That is a gift I would like to receive. So on this wintry feeling December morning, I’ll practice the gentle art of blessing by saying to those reading these words.

God bless us every one.