Our theme this month is Wonder. What do we mean when we talk about wonder in a UU faith setting? Teresa from Soul Matters said it beautifully in this months theme packet:
“As Unitarian Universalists, we sometimes talk about being a people of wonder, but it’s worth more of our attention, because as a spiritual value, it brings us much closer to the faith movement we want to be. To wonder, we have to be open-hearted and open-minded. To wonder, we have to question. We have to get beyond our cultural conditioning. We have to disregard the easy explanations and simplistic binaries. We have to remind one another that we do not know all there is to know. This is the work of a people of liberal religion. And lucky are we who share our lives with children and youth, for wonder is much closer to the surface for many of them. “
Here are some suggestions for ways to explore Wonder with your families.
- What is something you’ve wondered about the person or people you’re with, but never had the occasion to ask?
- What do you wonder about your own birth?
- What do you wonder about your own death?
- What sound is most wonderful to you? What feeling on your skin? What taste? What smell?
- What do you think happens all around your home in the middle of the night? What creatures come out? What does the air smell like? Who among your neighbors may still be awake? (Take a special night this month to quench this wondering with a late-night, star-watching date to learn what you can learn!)
- What is something about winter that you think is wonderful, but your family and friends just do not get at all? Or maybe it’s reversed, and you’re the one who’s mystified by others’ love of winter?
- What movie do you first remember as filling you with wonder? Maybe a fantasy movie, a nature documentary, or an incredible biopic?
- What do you think is wonderful about being a much older person, like your grandparents or grandfriends?
- Wonder sometimes feels like goosebumps, and sometimes brings tears to our eyes, and sometimes makes our thoughts buzz a million miles a minute. What does wonder feel like in your body?
- What wonderful things do you want to do or experience when you are older?
Playing Games with Wonder
Option A: I wonder what that is? DIY Pictionary
This popular board game may already be familiar to you, but here are some instructions for playing it without having to purchase anything. All you’ll need are drawing materials, pencils and paper or dry erase markers and small white boards.
We’ve created a wonder-themed Soulful Home word bank below to get you started making your own cards. To add your own words, it might help to think in the Pictionary categories: actions, people, places, and objects.
- Mountain climbing
- Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)
- The Grand Canyon
- Lightning bug / Firefly
- Tidal wave
- Mirabel Madrigal (from the movie Encanto)
- Maui (from the movie Moana)
Option B: Hide and Seek
When was the last time you played hide and seek in your own space? When children are very young, and their hiding places are adorably obvious, or else given away by constant giggling and peeking, we sometimes walk around saying in an exaggerated manner, “Hmmm, I wonder where my child could be?” We’re recapturing that spirit by playing a few rounds of hide and seek in a familiar space. Maybe that space is our Soulful Home, maybe it’s the church building during an evening gathering, or maybe it’s a neighborhood park.
Option C: Stringing Things
December is a month of garlands: cranberries, popcorn, twinkly lights, paper chain snowflakes, etc. Surprise a family member by having them come home to a house whose walls and ceilings are adorned with these and other wonderful things. You might include a home zipline across a room with some string or smooth ribbon, a paperclip or candy cane, and a favorite action figure or small toy dressed up for the season. These are the kinds of decorations that are meant to be played with, so have fun!
Moments of Wonder, or Things We Still Can’t Explain
Our Soul Matters Sharing Circle for the month of Wonder includes a 31-day playlist of awe-inspiring short videos. Preview a few that catch your eye, and then choose your favorite. Ask your conversation partner to do the same. Share your choices with one another and tell what it was that really spoke to you.
I hope that you will join us for our wonder filled Christmas Eve services! The 4 pm service will full of joy and the wonder of what comes next and the 8 pm service will offer opportunities for wonder and reflection with music and candlelight.