Religious Education Director’s Column

Dear Friends,

The winter holiday season is upon us, and in New England that means cold temperatures and decreased hours of daylight.  By 5:00 PM it is already dark.  And yet, this time of year is known as the Season of Light.  Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, and Kwanzaa all involve the ceremonial kindling of light, as do the Hindu celebration Diwali and the Buddhist celebration Loy Krathong.  Some Unitarian Universalists celebrate Chalica, a week-long celebration of our UU principles, which involves the lighting of a chalice each night.

It’s not surprising that we seek light during this cold season, when the days are short and darkness comes early.  As human beings, we crave light.  Light provides warmth, not just to our physical bodies, but to our spirits.  And so Christians strew lights on Christmas trees, Jews light a menorah, African-Americans light a kinara, and Muslims light lanterns called fanoos.  Hindus light clay lamps and fireworks, and Buddhists light candles and incense on little floating boats called krathongs.  And Unitarian Universalists light a chalice.  Of course, many Unitarian Universalists also light Christmas trees, menorahs, and any combination of the sources of light listed above, as we honor and embrace the celebrations of cultures and religions the world over.

Here at UUS:E, December brings many joyful celebrations.  I hope you will join us in as many of them as you can.

  • Sat, 12/13: Annual Decks the Halls Celebration, with some new twists this year.  Watch your email for details!
  • Sun, 12/14: RE Season of Light Celebration – children in all classes will learn about some of the winter holidays celebrated across many cultures and religions.  We will prepare some simple foods traditional to each of the holidays, and will share these treats during Coffee Hour.
  • Sun, 12/21: Multi-generational Holiday Music Service – a worship service featuring the talented musicians and beautiful voices of both our adult and children’s choirs.
  • Wed, 12/24: Christmas Eve Worship – as always, Christmas Eve services will be held at 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM.  Children are welcome at both, but the 6 PM service is especially child-centered.  This year’s 6:00 PM service will feature a “No Rehearsal Christmas Pageant”, in which children and adults are invited to participate.  No need to sign up in advance, no practices will be held.  Suggestions for very simple costumes will be provided in advance for those who think they might like to participate, and we hope to have some extra costumes or props available here.  More details will be forthcoming!

During the Season of Light, may we all be warmed by the love of the light in each other.

Gina Campellone, Director of Religious EducationBe well and be loved,

Gina Campellone