Here we are almost at the start of the holiday season. Summer, which seemed to hold on forever this year (one climate researcher reported that we had 6 months of August weather this year, taking temperature and humidity levels into account), well summer just one day up and left. Now, it’s back to sweaters and jackets, and planning for the coming holiday season.
Whether you celebrate Hannukah, Kwanza, Divali, a secular Christmas, a holy Christmas, the Winter Solstice as Yule, or some combination of these, fall is a time when we turn our attention to gathering with family, and celebrating the gifts of being together and being alive. We do this “thanks-giving” formally in America with our celebration of Thanksgiving in late November, but it’s really the mood of the whole rest of the calendar year.
Isn’t it easy to get caught up in the hoopla of the holidays? The shopping and the decorating and the baking are wonderful fun; I absolutely adore holidays! But let’s not forget the reason-behind-the-season (which may or may not be Jesus, for Unitarian Universalists). Regardless of our religious beliefs, the reason behind the season is simple: love. Caring for one another. Showing appreciation for the gifts of life and community. Practicing generosity. Remembering wonder.
Think of your favorite childhood holiday memory. Rather than trying to perform at peak levels this holiday season, I invite you to find that same sense of wonder, joy, surprise and excitement you had as a child. Which may mean not doing some of the things you usually do, and reading a good book instead. It might mean calling a family member you have been disconnected from, and making a new connection. It might mean reaching out to someone in need, perhaps a child who is struggling, and offering kindness to make them smile. There are many ways to experience the spirit of the season, and I hope that in the coming months, this spirit—of faith in your values, of hope for our collective future, and love for the world with all its imperfections—moves within and around you.
In faith and peace,