The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled, When the star in the sky is gone, When the kings and princes are home, comet trail across a blue night sky
When the shepherds are back with their flock, The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.

Howard Thurman


Sunday, December 26, 2021 – A prerecorded service led by Rev. Cathy Harrington, with Worship Associate Adam Griffith.  The service features a homily by Rev. Susan Frederick Gray, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

As we look ahead to the New Year, we have an opportunity to draw our attention to what sustains us, to draw our attention to the sources of love and care and gratitude in our lives.  In her holiday homily on gratitude, Susan Frederick Gray quotes adrienne maree brown, “I have had to soften my grip on a fearful future narrative and return to the humility of the present.”

Christmas Eve Services

Friday, December 24, 2021
5pm YouTube and In-Person

7:45pm In-Person only
Both services will be nearly identical, led by Revs. Harrington and Jiménez:
Vaccinations, masks and registration required to attend in person. The 5pm service will be live streamed on a closed link and can be watched at any time thereafter. To receive the closed link, sign up for worship service emails on our home page.

We gather to mark a night our ancestors have marked for thousands of years. Stories of kindness, generosity, hearts re-opened to love, and the miracle of hope will center our time together. You are invited to be touched by story, by candlelight, by tradition, by ancient rhythms of the soul. Come and share in this timeless celebration of mystery, magic and wonder.
For the 5pm service, music will be provided by Sandra Goodson, vocalist, and Dr. Leslie Downs, Music DirectorClick here to register for the 5pm Christmas Eve Service.
For the 7:45pm, there will be a Pre-Service Mini-Concert Followed by an 8pm Service. Music will be provided by Tabitha Judy, soprano, and Dr. Leslie Downs, Music Director. Click here to register for the 7:45pm Christmas Eve Service.


Embracing the Season

This year again we approach the holidays with caution as the pandemic persists and COVID variants arise. Many have been vaccinated and boosted; some have not, for a variety of reasons. They too, have worth and dignity. We are still masking at UUAvl and figuring out how to gather safely. We continue to grieve COVID losses having surpassed 800,000 deaths in our country and countless more worldwide.  We grieve for our planet and a nation whose leadership is unable to unite and pass a bill to alleviate the hardship this pandemic has caused to so many. We are tired and traumatized. In the words of Maya Angelou in her poemAmazing Peace

“Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.”

Take a moment to breathe and acknowledge your feelings, your bodily sensations as you think about this reality.  And take another deep breath. Think of the moments of joy and delight you have also experienced this past year. What manifestations of beauty and compassion have made you smile?  What friendships have sustained you?  What have you done to bring joy or delight to another?

I have found delight in the continued engagement of our UUAvl community. Our buildings may have been closed but our congregation has always been open. You have participated as you are able given all the challenges of this past year. The Christmas Caroling and Cookie Exchange & Tree Decorating gatherings this month filled our campus with joy and connection. It was delightful and heartwarming to see many of you again. Our community remains vibrant. On-line or in-person, we continue to show up for each other.  Programs for all ages continue to be offered, in person or on-line for you to participate as you are able. Committees continue to meet to do the work of the congregation. We have not been idle! Staff will be taking a much-deserved break after the Christmas Eve service. We will spend time with our families and friends and recharge our batteries. We hope this holiday season, whatever your practices, you have an opportunity to celebrate, rest and reflect as you prepare to welcome a new year.

May we observe the winter holidays in a way that resonates with our UU values.
May we act in the spirit of giving and generosity that permeates the season.

Feliz Navidad,
Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development

Worship Services on 12/26 and 1/2

santa claus sitting on a lounge chair on a beach with a sweatshirt that says I heart Boxing DayWe’re giving everyone a break.  On Sunday, December 26 the worship service will be pre-recorded so you can watch it any time after you get the link that morning.

On January 2, we will return to our in-person and live-streamed format with the service starting at 11am.  We will continue limiting worship attendance to 75.