How will you experience Wonder this month?

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.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is something you’ve wondered about the person or people you’re with, but never had the occasion to ask? 
  2. What do you wonder about your own birth? 
  3. What do you wonder about your own death?
  4. What sound is most wonderful to you? What feeling on your skin? What taste? What smell?
  5. 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!)
  6. 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?
  7. What movie do you first remember as filling you with wonder? Maybe a fantasy movie, a nature documentary, or an incredible biopic?
  8. What do you think is wonderful about being a much older person, like your grandparents or grandfriends?
  1. 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?
  2. 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.

  • Fly
  • Surprise
  • Stare
  • Create
  • Glow
  • Transform
  • Connect
  • Mountain climbing
  • Dancing
  • Constellation
  • Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)
  • The Grand Canyon
  • Unicorn
  • Fossil
  • Lightning bug / Firefly
  • Tidal wave
  • Crystal
  • 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.

We Are Thankful

Thankful.  We are so very thankful for all the contributions of this beloved community this year.  We send our heartfelt gratitude to:

  • You who bought tickets to the Auction Gala
  • You who donated your services, skills, dinners, parties, gourmet items, artwork, and fine crafts
  • You who purchased the above array of events and items
  • You who worked with the Auction Team to bring to life this year’s online auction and in-person gala
  • You, members of the staff who put up with our incessant requests for publicity
  • Our numerous, generous business donors
  • Our capable caterer, Gene Ettison, and his hardworking team
  • You, volunteers and youth, who helped make the gala a welcoming, smooth-running, and fun event!

Highlights from this unique auction year include:

  • Excitement about planning our first in-person gala since 2019
  • Trepidation about COVID’s impact on our plans
  • Success in carrying out a hybrid (online and in-person) auction event
  • Discovery that many folks like to dress up and dance!

We learned that our congregation has amazing tenacity and generosity in this time of transition.  Again, our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all.

**And, our flexible, dynamic and well-organized team is always ready to welcome new helpers!

The Auction Team

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Weekend

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Weekend Events

  • Saturday January 14 – Dr. MLK, Jr. Prayer Breakfast, 8:00 am at the Crowne Plaza Resort. We are not purchasing tickets for tables this year, but individuals are encouraged to attend. There is more information, and you can buy tickets at http://mlkasheville.org/
  • Sunday January 15 – UU Asheville 9:30 AM All Ages making posters for the rally; Service at 11:00 am with homilies by Religious Educator, Kim Collins and Rev. Claudia Jiménez centering on the legacy of Dr. King.
  • Monday January 16 – Dr. MLK, Jr. Peace Walk and Rally. Meet at 11:30 am at St. James AME Church for a 0.4-mile walk to the rally in Pack Square Park. UU Asheville participates in this event every year and this year it will be a yellow shirt brigade event.

Those attending the Peace Walk can also bring nonperishable food items to the collection site at St. James AME Church before the walk. The food will be distributed between Manna Food Bank and the East End Valley Street Neighborhood Food Pantry.