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Preparing for 2024 by Rev. Christine Emmerling D.D. 1/7/2024

“This last week was the beginning of a new year which is a great time to take stock of the year we just left before focusing on our new year, 2024. This is a two-part service. We will begin with what we would like to release and not carry forth into 2024. Then we will review to find the good, the gifts from 2023 that we will carry forth into our new year.

We have a tendency to carry our emotional baggage from our past into this day and then our tomorrow. What is this past baggage made of; to name a few: the actions we have taken that have hurt others or have hurt our own self, grief, grudges, judgements, fears, and our own self-limiting beliefs. When these are released, we stop our punishing of self and others. This allows us to express our true self. This new freed up energy can now be used in a conscious way to enhance our life.

Have you ever faced a fear and discovered how great you felt afterwards. Conquering our fears is freeing and empowering. Forgiving our self and others is healing to our soul - truly grace. Letting go of those limiting beliefs and labels we have adopted allows us to explore talents, and do things we never before thought possible, and be our true authentic self.

We will now have a meditative exercise to release. Get comfortable, go within, take in a good deep breath release and relax. We shall use our imagination. Now see yourself standing in an empty room made of four tall walls. Each wall is built with layers of bricks. Each brick has a label on it that represents a belief that is limiting your freedom. The only way out will be to remove the bricks by transforming and healing what it represents brick by brick. Please know that when we are done, that any brick may be picked back up, but know that it will be a conscious choice in doing so.

The first wall of bricks before you represent all of your worldly possessions. Starting with your belief about this physical body - looks, limitations, illness or mortality. Next are your belongings - home, furnishings, clothing, car, TV, phone, toys, bank accounts and debts. Brick by brick, look and see the label on it, and silently say “This has no power of itself - within me is the power.” We will take a few moments in silence to process this wall of bricks.... Now forgive yourself for giving your power of belief to the world of form - for you knew not what you were doing. Take a deep breath, exhale while fully releasing. The wall has become but a pile of bricks.

We now turn to the right to face the 2nd wall of bricks. This wall was built with our memories of guilt, shame, blame, failures and weaknesses. Forgiveness and love is the only way to break down these bricks. Now forgive your misperceptions of your worldly experiences by responding in anger, hate or harmfulness. Next forgive the people who hurt you, and your response to them. Release all from your condemnation, and now you too are also released. We will take a few moments in silence as we process.... Take a deep breath and exhale fully releasing. What was a wall is now just a pile of bricks.

turn to the right and face the 3rd wall of bricks. These bricks are labeled with all your imaginings of the future - your worries, stresses and fears. They include your fears about money, career, health, relationships, worldly and earthly events, and all your insecurities. You now realize that these are just your imaginings with no truth to sustain them. You forgive yourself for dreaming all these up and accepting other people’s imaginings. We will take a few moments in silence.... Take a deep breath and exhale fully releasing. I choose to live in this very moment - moment to moment. That wall has crumbled to a pile of bricks.

We now turn to the right and face our 4th and last wall of bricks. This wall is built of all the labels of who you think you are, and how you are known in this world. The titles we use, such as mother, father, aunt, uncle, daughter, son, sister, brother, wife, husband, career, position at work, unemployed or retired, rich or poor are but roles that you have taken on. These are as masks we put on and are known by in this world. Now release these labels, these false images for the true self - a soul of divine spirit. We will take a few moments in silence.... Take a deep breath and watch the final bricks crumbling down before you.

Look around and see all the walls are down. Now look up, you can see the sky. Your true self is now free to soar as an eagle, and just be. Take a few moments now to experience your Divine free self...

We will now move into the 2nd part of this service. This next process is about the knowledge, wisdom and good gained from 2023. We will be reviewing the past year looking for the gifts that it brought to us. It is through both the good times and challenging times that we build character, wisdom and spiritual understanding. It is mostly through the challenging times that our faith becomes stronger, and we have more compassion for our self and others. We also have the opportunity to put to work what we have learned through our spiritual practices and studies.

We’re now going to have a guided exercise as we review 2023. I invite you to stretch a little, relax, and take in a good deep breath and exhale. Go within, still our thoughts, and be receptive to the still small voice within us.

Now let us step back in time to the beginning of 2023 to January, February, and March... What did the winter season bring? What was going on in your life at that time, your expectations, challenges, decisions, career, personal relationships, spiritual practices? How did you handle these? What good is there? What insights are there? Ask Spirit within to reveal the deeper inner message for you...

Let us now move on to April, May, June. Recall what the spring season brought to your life experience. What was happening? What good or insights do you find? Again, ask Spirit within to reveal the deeper messages...

We now move on to July, August, September. What did the summer season bring - what were the experiences? What are the high points? What did you discover? Ask Spirit again to reveal the deeper message for you...

We now move on to October, November, December. What did the Autumn season bring? Focus on finding the good. What was going on at that time? Ask Spirit to reveal the deeper message for you...

We will now look at the year 2023 as a whole, and answer the following seven questions:

1. What were your major accomplishments or problems resolved?

2. What was the major theme of issues for 2023?

3. How was your handling of these issues?

4. What have you learned most from 2023?

5. Have you evolved spiritually and how?

6. What are you most grateful for in 2023?

7. What title do you give to this chapter in your book of life?

Let us now give thanks to Infinite Spirit for this opportunity to spiritually evolve and experience life in this realm we call earth. Thank you, Divine Spirit, for all the good that came forth, and I give thanks for all that is about to come forth in 2024. So it is! Amen.

I thank you for your participation in today’s service. May 2024 enrich your life with even many more blessings.

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