Dave Brisbin 11.24.19
In the run up to Thanksgiving, we take a pause to ask if anyone knows who established Thanksgiving as a national holiday in the first place. Our thoughts tend to go back to Pilgrims and Native Americans collaborating, but it was surprising to most that it was Abraham Lincoln, in the midst of the Civil War, who instituted Thanksgiving. This is ironic on two fronts: that Thanksgiving was born in the middle of the darkest period in American history, and born of Lincoln, a man of near constant depression at the most stressful time in his life. What allowed Lincoln, as he put it in his Thanksgiving proclamation, to see the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies, and the continued beauty of the land and its people outside the theater of conflict?

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And how did he continue to acknowledge the divine source of that beauty and fullness in spite of his own personal loss and that of the country? Gratitude is an amazing thing. People choose to embrace or not, it seems, based on their ability to see gifts all around them that they could never have given themselves. And even as they work hard to earn their way through life, entitlement never takes permanent residence in their hearts as they come to understand that though we may rearrange the furniture, the house is still a gift beyond our imagination.

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Everyone is recovering from something… Admitting this is the first step in spiritual life, because any unfinished business in our lives–trauma, unforgiveness, fear-based perceptions–fosters compulsive behavior and keeps us from connecting spiritually and emotionally.

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Embedded in the fun and laughter of each of our gatherings and events is the connection and accountability as well as the structure, discipline, and opportunity for service that authentic community is all about. We help create programs for physical support, emotional recovery, and spiritual formation that can meet any person’s needs. Such programs work at two levels: first to address a person’s physical and emotional stability—clinical, financial, relational, professional—anything that distracts from working on the second level: true spiritual formation centered around the contemplative way of life defined by an original Hebrew understanding of the message of Jesus.

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