As I write this, I’m looking out the window at the rapidly melting snow around our church home. It’s a little gift really, this “preview” of spring, especially since we know that there’s sure to be more snow and cold right around the corner. Still, the absence of snow has made it hard for me to feel like it’s Christmastime. But then I come to church. I see the holiday decorations up all around the building. I see the sanctuary set up for the Solstice service. I notice the tree which played a starring role in our holiday pageant. I see the candles in the windows, shining a beacon of the warmth and community that this church is. And most of all, I remember all of you. The smiles of welcome as you greet each other on Sunday. The handshakes and embraces as you hear and share difficult news. The parents, holding young ones on laps or in arms, swaying as we sing together the songs of this season. I see all of these things and I know it is in fact, Christmas.
Christmas means different things to different people. We here at UUCM celebrate it in different ways, or not at all – for many of us, it’s Solstice that is “our” holiday, with the other winter holidays really being icing on the cake (or cookie as it may be). Yet when I see you all preparing to celebrate (or not), what I’m reminded of is that these holidays are in so many ways a reflection and embodiment of the values and principles that we hold most dear. Values of community, of hospitality, values of awe, wonder, and courageous love that keep calling us out of the easy comforts of our lives and into the riskier, but ultimately more deeply rewarding experience of connection and relationship.
So I invite you, as to come to our holiday services tonight, on Sunday, and on Christmas Eve, to pause for a moment as you enter church, to take a deep breath as you settle into the sanctuary, and in that pause, to look around and see what you notice, what makes your heart swell and your spirit soar? What awakens your gratitude? What about this place, this community, makes it the spiritual and religious home you choose to be part of?
Thank you for blessing this community with the gifts you bring and the presence that you share. See you at church!