Enter, Rejoice, and Come In

Dear Friends,

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is upon us. Regardless of which winter holiday you celebrate—even if you celebrate none at all—it is impossible to entirely escape the crowded shops, the extra-long lines at the grocery store, and the congestion and slow moving traffic on the roads. Thanks to the Food Network, Home & Garden TV, and even the silly Target advertisements in which everyone is wearing matching Christmas pajamas, it’s easy to feel as though the world will come crashing down around us if our turkey isn’t perfectly brined, our gifts not expertly wrapped, and our holiday outfits not color coordinated. No wonder so many of us find ourselves feeling irritable and depleted by the middle of the month. So much for Christmas cheer!

But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if we could choose to do it differently? What traditions would you hold onto, and what ones might you let go? I love the holiday season, and am one of those potentially annoying people who start singing Christmas Carols in September, much to the chagrin of my family. Yet even I often find myself exhausted and overwhelmed by all the planning and preparations.

My goal this year is to slow down, savor each day, and let go of the desire to get everything just right. I hope to make time to gather with family and friends throughout this festive month, rather than spending the entire month preparing for one “perfect” day. With that in mind, I share with you the following list of opportunities for children, families, and folks of all ages to learn, play, sing, celebrate, and worship together throughout the month of December:

  • Help “Covenant to Care” in their work to provide holiday gifts for children and youth in need in the Manchester community. Choose a tag from the tree in the lobby, purchase the requested gift, and return it to UUS:E by December 10th. See Beth Gray, Phil Sawyer, or Diana Sherman by the tree in the lobby after services for more information or to sign up.
  • Support the Junior Youth Group’s efforts to collect dog & cat food, kitty litter, and pet toys to be donated to the CT Humane Society. Please leave donations of these items in the collection bins located in both the upstairs and downstairs lobbies.
  • Join us for Christmas Caroling on Saturday, December 16th. Everyone is welcome to participate in this joyful, multigenerational event. Meet at UUS:E at 4:30 PM. See RE Chair Tammy Stolzman for more details.
  • Attend our annual Holiday Music Service on Sunday, December 17th, featuring performances by both the adult and children’s choirs, incredible instrumentalists, and a very unusual holiday story involving a screaming latke. (Yes, you read that right!)
  • Attend a Christmas Eve worship service on Sunday, December 24th. The 6 PM service features traditional carols and fun Christmas songs, along with a participatory, no rehearsal style pageant. Children and adults are encouraged to come and play the roles of shepherds, wise people, angels, even camels or sheep. Costumes are encouraged! There is also a more contemplative service at 8 PM. Children are welcome at either service, of course.
  • Bring new hats, mittens, socks, or underwear to place under the Christmas tree in the sanctuary on Christmas Eve. These items will be donated to a homeless shelter.

Wishing you quiet moments and joyful gatherings this holiday season.
Gina Campellone, Director of Religious Education


Be well & be loved,