Heart with Wings

Unity of Religious Ideals

Beloved Brothers and Sisters of the One Human Family,

The only studies which are worth accomplishing are those which lead to the realization of God, and of unity first with God and then with the self, and so with all. (Sufi Message Volume 9, The Unity of Religious Ideals, Unity and Uniformity, HIK) This site honors the wisdom of all those religious traditions that have illuminated the hearts and minds of humanity.

In loving service, Nuria & Our Workers

Advent Sunday, 3 December - 24 December 2017

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in God, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Roman 15:12-13).

The Western Christian church year begins with Advent (meaning coming or arrival) which is also a time when Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ. Advent begins on the Sunday nearest November 30 and lasts until Christmas Eve.

Advent has been celebrated since the 500's CE. For many centuries, it was a strict observance marked by penitence. Gradually, this time has become more joyful as Christ's coming is celebrated and preparations are made for his Second Coming.

Clergy typically wear royal purple or royal blue vestments during Advent. Many churches also include an advent wreath in their Advent services. The wreath consists of four candles (three purple and one rose) arranged in a circle of evergreen which symbolizes eternal life. The candles are lit progressively as follows:

First Sunday: one purple candle
Second Sunday: two purple candles
Third Sunday: two purple candles and the rose candle
Fourth Sunday: all four candles
The rose candle is also called the "Joy" candle and it comes out of the history of Advent.

The Advent fast was broken on the third Sunday in anticipation of the great event to come. Often a fifth white candle will be placed in the center of the circle. This is the Christ Candle, symbolizing Christ's birth, and it is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
Ref: BBC Interfaith Calendar

In loving service,
Nuria & Our Workers

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Sat, 25 Nov 2017 20:12:00 +0000

Winter Solstice, Northern Hemisphere, 21st December

Photo: Squaw Creek, Missouri, USA

The Sonnets To Orpheus: Book 2: 13
Rainer Maria Rilke

Be ahead of all parting, as though it already were
behind you, like the winter that has just gone by.
For among these winters there is one so endlessly winter
that only by wintering through it all will your heart survive.

Be forever dead in Eurydice-more gladly arise
into the seamless life proclaimed in your song.
Here, in the realm of decline, among momentary days,
be the crystal cup that shattered even as it rang.

Be-and yet know the great void where all things begin,
the infinite source of your own most intense vibration,
so that, this once, you may give it your perfect assent.

To all that is used-up, and to all the muffled and dumb
creatures in the world's full reserve, the unsayable sums,
joyfully add yourself, and cancel the count.

The celebration of Winter Solstice (also known as Yule) is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world.

Ancient people were hunters and spent most of their time outdoors. The seasons and weather played a very important part in their lives. Because of this many ancient people had a great reverence for, and even worshipped the sun. The Norsemen of Northern Europe saw the sun as a wheel that changed the seasons. It was from the word for this wheel, houl, that the word yule is thought to have come. At mid-winter the Norsemen lit bonfires, told stories and drank sweet ale.

The ancient Romans also held a festival to celebrate the rebirth of the year. Saturnalia ran for seven days from the 17th of December. It was a time when the ordinary rules were turned upside down. Men dressed as women and masters dressed as servants. The festival also involved decorating houses with greenery, lighting candles, holding processions and giving presents.

The Winter Solstice falls on the shortest day of the year (21st December) and was celebrated in Britain long before the arrival of Christianity. The Druids (Celtic priests) would cut the mistletoe that grew on the oak tree and give it as a blessing. Oaks were seen as sacred and the winter fruit of the mistletoe was a symbol of life in the dark winter months.

It was also the Druids who began the tradition of the yule log. The Celts thought that the sun stood still for twelve days in the middle of winter and during this time a log was lit to conquer the darkness, banish evil spirits and bring luck for the coming year.

Many of these customs are still followed today. They have been incorporated into the Christian and secular celebrations of Christmas. Ref: BBC Interfaith Calendar

In loving service,
Nuria & Our Workers

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Sat, 25 Nov 2017 20:12:00 +0000

Summer Solstice, Southern Hemisphere, 21st December

Claude Monet, Irises from Monet's Garden

Let me grow quietly in Thy garden as a speechless plant,
that some day my flowers and fruits may sing the legend of my silent past.
 (Hazrat Inayat Khan, Gayan)
Sat, 25 Nov 2017 20:12:00 +0000

Hanukkah, The Festival of Lights12 December - 20 December 2017

Blessing Over Candle

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe

asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu
Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us

l'had'lik neir shel Chanukah. Amein
to light the lights of Chanukkah. Amen

Blessing for Hanukkah (first night only)

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe

she'asah nisim la'avoteinu bayamim haheim baziman hazeh. Amein
Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time

Blessing for Hanukkah

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe

shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu v'higi'anu laz'man hazeh. Amein
who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season. Amen

Hanukkah (or Chanukah) is the Jewish Festival of Lights

It dates back to two centuries before the beginning of Christianity. The festival begins on the 25th day of Kislev and is celebrated for eight days.

The word Hanukkah means rededication and commemorates the Jews' struggle for religious freedom. The festival marks the phenomenal victory of a group of Jews called the Maccabees over the Syrian Greeks, the most powerful army of the ancient world.

At the end of the three-year war, the Maccabees recaptured Jerusalem and rededicated the temple. When the Maccabees rededicated the temple, they discovered a single cruse of oil with the seal of the High Priest still intact.

When they came to light the eight-branched temple candelabrum, the menorah, they had enough oil to last only a day. But the menorah miraculously stayed alight for eight days. This became known as the miracle of the oil.

Lighting the Menorah

On day one, the first candle is lit; on the second night Jews light two candles, and the pattern continues. By the eighth night, all eight candles are alight. They are lit from a separate candle, the Shamash or servant candle.

Traditional Hanukkah Symbolic Foods 

Fried food in particular reminds Jews of the miracle of the oil and the candles that burned for eight days after the Maccabees won back the temple in Jerusalem.

Dairy products are often eaten during Hanukkah. The tradition has its roots in the story of Judith (Yehudit) who saved her village from the Syrians by making an offering of cheese and wine to the governor of the enemy troops.
Ref: BBC Interfaith Calendar

In loving service,
Nuria & Our Workers

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Sat, 25 Nov 2017 20:12:00 +0000

Christmas Day, 25th December

Lorenzo Lotto, Adoration 1523

Saint Luke 2:7-14

7 And Mary brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth bpeace, good will toward men.

Let us join together hand in hand in song:

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

Ref: BBC Interfaith Calendar

In loving service,
Nuria & Our Workers

Learn More

Sat, 25 Nov 2017 20:12:00 +0000
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