And now we are in the ancient season of Yule! That year went by quickly, didn’t it? I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. Always an interesting, and in some ways very important, way to kick off the holiday season: ending a harvest of the year, counting the blessings, giving thanks for what we have, and preparing ourselves for a reasonable celebration as we face the longest nights - the Earth (at least here in the northern hemisphere) settling down for her long winter nap. Before she does though, let’s have a few cups of kindness this month, shall we?
Couple of interesting things to think about as the holidays approach: as you probably remember, many of the traditions that we celebrate in this country around this time of year come directly out of the heads of Unitarians, Universalists and Unitarian Universalists, starting with the carols. Next time you’re in a shopping mall and you hear Do You Hear What I Hear? you can thank Unitarian Noel Regney wrote the text as a protest song in 1962 in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis. If your visiting family away from Greeley this month and It Came Upon a Midnight Clear comes up, you can point out it was written by the Unitarian minister Rev. Edmund Hamilton Sears. Anybody reading or performing Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol might want to remember it sprung up only after his return visit to America where he met both Ralph Waldo Emerson and William Ellery Channing in Boston, and promptly joined a Unitarian Church back in London. The list goes on, but we’ll have more time to talk this month.
Speaking of this month, our Beloved Community is leaving behind the month of Justice in November and exploring a perhaps more intimate theme: Family. Both are themes of love, but as the ancient Greeks explained to us different facets: Agape (Love of Humanity and the World) and Storge (Love of Family and Relations). Our Stone Soup Pageant has been our bridge between themes, from the Stranger to the Family. Over the course of the month, we’ll talk about what families we are born with and what families we make by choice. We’ll examine things we may not have thought of, like why do we have families in the first place and what that says about this one amazing life we have all be graced with? Our explorations will culminate on Christmas Eve this year when we will have a very special service (and I expect one of our gifts will be to see quite a few old and new faces of our church family).
I hope during this busy time, when you are running from event to event, you find some time to share a moment with us this month on Sunday Mornings and at the other times and events. I was especially proud of our congregation coming out to support our neighbors at Beth Israel following the tragedy in Pittsburgh. I heard from Rabbi Sarah how much our time with them meant. Thank you for your efforts. We’ve had really great attendance on Sunday the past few months, even on the snowy days and even on the Sundays that I am not with you. My great gift is to see all your names in the basket on Monday morning as I put your tags back up. Happy Holidays to all of us, every one!
Yours in Faith and Fellowship,
Rev. Aaron Norris