A season of holidays, natural and created, is in our midst.
Not so long ago, the Gathering Room was festooned with lights in the School’s celebration of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. It was a delight for me to spend a mid-November afternoon in that room with eight Unitarian Universalist lay folk learning how to preach, surrounded by colorful tassels and glowing lights as the early evening darkened.
As I am writing this, it is nearly Thanksgiving, a complicated holiday the history of which is mythology masking the troubling nature of Europeans initial relationship with the Native peoples of this continent. While that legacy lingers and should be part of the story we remember, the holiday is for so many a chance for family (of birth or choice) to gather together and express gratitude for the blessings, so many of them unearned, in our lives.
Just a few days after this newsletter is published comes the beginning of the eight-day Hanukah, another remembering of light (for there was enough oil for one candle to burn for one day, yet it burned for eight) and of hope coming from mystery (which is our theme for the month).
A few weeks later arrives the longest night of the year – the Winter Solstice – and while we can choose to just notice the returning light, it is beneficial to also honor and be grateful for darkness, and the gifts it brings.
Then comes Christmas, Christian or secular, a holiday that looms, sometimes overwhelmingly so, on our cultural scene. Another opportunity to pay attention to light and dark, as well as an embodied version of that very same relationship: how do we welcome the immigrant child born to a refugee family seeking safety?
Here at TUS, on Monday, December 24, at 6:30 we will gather – and I hope you will invite your friends to join you – to hold our individual candles so that together we create a light that is greater than the sum of its parts. (And sing songs of the season…)
Finally, with the end of the calendar year, another created holiday, the New Year: a chance to notice not so much light and dark, or light and hope, but endings and beginnings – how they are not separate or opposite, but made of the very same fabric, woven tail to head to head to tail, sometimes knit so tightly upon themselves it is hard to know which is which.
I am blessed to be on this journey with you,