This year our winter holiday observances are unlike those of previous years. Most of us will be at home with immediate family or alone. Many yearly holiday trips have been reluctantly cancelled as, weary of the pandemic, we wait for vaccines to reach our communities. Some of us have been healthy, others have become sick and recuperated. Still others are struggling with recovery. We all mourn the loss of over 300,000 Americans and millions worldwide to COVID-19 even though we may not know how to mourn such an event. That is what is on most of our minds as we prepare to observe the winter holidays. It has been a difficult year. A year of grieving lives lost, grieving cancelled gatherings with family and friends, grieving the loss of the illusion that we live in an ideal democracy, and so much more.
We grieve our losses as we also acknowledge this was also a time of celebration. There were graduations, weddings, births, and other milestones among the members in our communities. UUCA members and friends worked on getting out the vote. We anticipate the inauguration of a president who promises to work to bring our nation together and the first woman of the Global Majority to serve as US vice president. UUCA’s online programs, worship, and projects including “Church in a Box” and masked meet-ups for youth and adults have helped keep our community present to each other. Our board is challenging us to become an anti-racist congregation and a committee is working to explore what that entails.
What can you add to the list? What joys have you experienced alongside the grief, sadness, and frustration that you have experienced this year? I invite you to take a moment to reflect on the many causes for gratitude in your life. And, in the spirit of the generosity that is part of the season, I invite you to consider what you can offer others. Monika Grasley, who facilitates Assets Based Community Development, invites us to think of sharing the gifts of our talents and skills this holiday season. I wonder which speak to you.
- Gifts of the HEAD– things people know about (What special knowledge, expertise, and/or life experience do you have that can be shared with others?)
- Gifts of the HEART– things people care about (What things are really important to you, that you deeply care about and would like to share with others?)
- Gifts of the HANDS – skills and talents people have (What practical skill do you bring with you, that you are good at, proud of and you wish to share with others?)
- Gifts of the HEEL– things people do to stay grounded (What spiritual practices do you do and are willing to share with others?)
- Gifts of HUMAN Connection – things people do to stay connected (What ways do you build community for yourself and others?)
Lastly, I invite you to listen to the holiday message from our denominational president, Susan Frederick Gray https://www.uua.org/pressroom/press-releases/may-we-simply-be
May we observe the winter holidays in a way that resonates with our values
and may we act in the spirit of giving and generosity that permeates the season.
Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development