Our monthly worship theme is LIGHT. I chose this theme several months ago and am now seeing it in a bit of a new way. Certainly, there are many sacred festivals of light around the world this month – Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule (the Winter Solstice), Diwali, the Loi Krathong (Floating Lotus Candle) Festival in Thailand, and many others. These festivals and ceremonies and holy days all originated in the northern hemisphere and many of them certainly connect to the winter solstice and the return of the light, as well as gratitude and blessing. Most of these holy times are also imbued with joy.
However, after the election, I now see our theme of Light in a different way, as we approach what will be a dark time in the history of our nation. Yes, we will have light and celebration and joy, because those are necessary for our lives. Yet other questions also come forward now. How will we be a light for ourselves and others who need our compassion and our solidarity? How will we share our light of Unitarian Universalism with the world? How will we keep ourselves energized when we will need to dig deep for ongoing resilience and resistance?
Our services this month address these questions in several ways.
On December 4th, we will celebrate an Affirmation Sunday. We will welcome new members to this congregation – yay! We will also recognize important accomplishments and milestones for several groups of volunteers in our church. All of these dear people are bringing their light to all of us and our UU faith by coming here!
On December 11th, there will be a lay-led service with Barbara May as Worship Leader. She will be focusing on how we can Live in Light.
On December 18th, we will celebrate Yule – the Winter Solstice – in the Pagan tradition. We will give gratitude to the Dark and all its fruitful being. And we will celebrate the Return of the Light by casting into the fire those habits, beliefs and ways of behaving that no longer serve us well. And – the Sun King will be with us – if we can find him and bring him back to light the world! Thus we will prepare ourselves for what is coming.
We will have one service for Christmas Eve, December 24th at 6:30 p.m. This will be a service of lessons and carols on the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, presented in ways both traditional and completely Unitarian Universalist. We will end with candle lighting and Silent Night. This is a perfect time to remember Jesus the revolutionary, who stood against an Empire until his last breath.
On Sunday, December 25th, Christmas Day, our doors will be open for all those who may seek fellowship, religious community and connection. The service is about Enlightenment – how is it that we can prepare ourselves spiritually for growth, creativity and change? Can we bring enlightenment to ourselves by force of will? What kind of enlightenment might we hope for in these times?
I hope that all of these services support you in hope, resilience, resistance and love, so that we may face the unknown future together with determination, commitment and compassion!
Love and blessings,