Religious Education News

A Children & Youth Ministry Message from Sudha Sevin

Take heart; Winter is loosening her grip!

The holidays are well behind us, and there’s still a way to go before we see the first crocus. Yet, February heralds the lengthening of the day and the thawing of the earth. You will have to look closely for signs of the gestating Spring though.

To orient ourselves to this liminal time—halfway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox—our family celebrates an eclectic mix of Imbolc (Celtic holiday), Candlemass (Christian tradition), and Groundhog Day (Puxatawney). It’s a sanity saver for us, when cabin fever is otherwise setting in.

Over the years, I’ve also marked this special time during RE with some of the children. They roll their own candles from sheets of beeswax and decorate them. And because Imbolc (“first milk”) is also when the earliest calves are born, it’s a tradition to celebrate dairy returning to the diet. The kids curl up with a cup of hot cocoa and whipped cream (or vegan equivalent) and settle in for a favorite read-aloud, “A Story of Brigit for Imbolc” by Starhawk.

In this wintery adventure, two siblings search for a sacred well. Along the way, they encounter Old Man Maddog, who has fallen ill. Despite the old man being an outsider, the children help him. Their act of kindness leads to the discovery of Brigit’s sacred well, which has been covered over by years of neglect and garbage.

The story is a crowd pleaser—and a great way for children to consider the UU Principles. It’s always a joy to share our family celebration of Imbolc this way. So, now I share it with all of you, too. Light a candle, have a dessert, and simply be present to the sweet mystery of the Earth’s precious cycle of seasons. After the long, dark stillness of winter, Imbolc is the quickening.