The Second Week of Advent
by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff
“Always look for the helpers.” I remember hearing this when the documentary about the life of children’s television innovator, Mr. Rogers, was released in 2018. Entitled Won’t You Be My Neighbor, the film highlighted the incredible career of a man whose goal was to heal a hurting world by making each child feel whole, valued, and complete right now. He would often say, “I like you just the way you are.” His message was that you don’t need to wait for some future time or when you get older to be okay. You are okay right now. And when times are tough, or things are scary, focusing on those who are helping others or being helpful to another helps you. As the prayer in A Course in Miracles says,
“I am here only to be truly helpful.
I am here to represent Him Who sent me.
I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me.
I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me.
I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.” (T-2.V-A.18)
The Course’s message centers on our finding salvation by being truly helpful. There is no other way to healing than through each other. With that said, helping may not always look the way we or others expect it to look. Our goal now is to step back, rest in God, and allow ourselves to be guided by our Internal Teacher.
As we enter our second week of Advent, I invite you to focus on your purpose of healing. One of my favorite quotes in the Course is found in chapter 31 of the Text in the section entitled, “Recognizing Spirit.” This section suggests we move past the myriad of ego forms that distract us and instead focus on the truth: we are spirit, not the limitations of our bodies and the world of form. This is not the easiest thing to do while we still see bodies and the world, and so the Course very compassionately says that we should at least choose spirit even if we cannot fully understand how to move past the world of form. It says…
“…choose the spirit, and all Heaven bends to touch your eyes and bless your holy sight, that you may see the world of flesh no more except to heal and comfort and to bless.” (T-31.VI.1:8)
Therefore, as we choose with even “a little willingness” for spirit, we are helped by being given direction how we can be in the world of flesh in such a way as to lead us out of it – to be in the world but not of the world. We do so by using every experience in this world “to heal and comfort and to bless.”
And so, for the second week of Advent, with a focus on healing for ourselves and others, we are led back to Mr. Rogers and his focus on healing through helping. As mentioned, Mr. Rogers focused on helping children heal by using music, songs, puppets, and even everyday things that can seem new or scary. He always had the patience to wait. One time he fed his goldfish and let the children observe them eating their food. It may have seemed silly to adults to waste time watching fish eat food, but for a child, it was fascinating. We need to meet each other at our individual points of help and healing. Some of us are faster, and some need to take time. Healing is not a race, and the more compassionate we are to each other, the sooner we all awaken.
One of Mr. Rogers’ songs was entitled “Many Ways to Say I Love You.” In the song, he says you can say I love you by doing things for others or just being there for each other. In one verse, he says,
“There are many ways to say I love you
Just by being there when things are sad and scary
Just by being there, being there
Being there to say, I love you.”
If you think about it, that is what God does for us. He is always there reminding us of His infinite love for us. As the Course says,
“My Father supports me, protects me, and directs me in all things. His care for me is infinite, and is with me forever. I am eternally blessed as His Son.” (W-58.5)
If God does this for us, perhaps we can do this for another. It doesn’t mean we have to say or do anything, but we are willing to be truly helpful because we are healed as we let Him teach us to heal.
Use this second week of Advent to become an instrument of healing by being truly helpful. How might that look today? We don’t know, but God knows what needs to be done by you or what thought you need to hold, so I invite you to step back and invite Him in…
“This holy instant would I give to You.
Be You in charge. For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace.” (W-361 to 365)
“Accept His healing power and use it for all He sends you, for He wills to heal the Son of God, in whom He is not deceived.” (T-11.VIII.12:5)