Aug. 20, 2018.

By Senior Minister Rev. David A. Miller.

This past week, in jest, someone posted an article on my Facebook page about how people who decorate earlier for Christmas are happier people. Yes, there were lots of fun comments and cries of exasperation because I love decorating for autumn, and as soon as the holidays approach I try to get those decorations up as fast as possible. Although all of this was good fun, there is actually something behind my decorating desires. I love the colors of the fall as they break up the everyday backdrop of my life. I love the lights, colors and sounds of the holiday season as they fill me with joy and help create that sense of community that we seem to share more during the holidays. It does bring me happiness and, although sometimes it can drive friends, family and co-workers to make a wide variety of comments, I find a well-placed pumpkin a thing of beauty.

It is of course mid-August, with warm temperatures, afternoon thunderstorms and weeks before even I can pull out the decorations, but let me just say this: These days that we now live in are in desperate need of color, joy and beauty as well as the warm and wonderful aromas that come as the summer finds its way to fall. My decorations will be coming out just a little early this year, for in some deep way, it is a spiritual practice for me. The approaching time of year is filled with comfort, meaning and hope, a time when we seem to draw closer, a time when all the trite little sayings on the coffee mugs of the season really do speak to a deep need for harvest blessings and a love that transcends our human discord.

I know that some find the holidays to be filled with crass commercialism and an overabundance of indulgence. I can’t really argue with that. We have a knack for making most things about money. But as the summer winds down, as the schools return to session, as the leaves start to turn, I wish for you all that connection of meaning, hope, beauty and joy that still can be found throughout the coming months. Of course you don’t have to join me in my early decorating but I hope you will join with me in not giving in to that hopelessness that can come with the challenges we face, the spitefulness of our divides and the commercialization of rituals of much deeper meaning.

This blog about decorating for the holidays may also feel early to some, so let me suggest something: Find some splashes of color and put them up on your walls. Buy a new candle and fill your house with fragrance. Put on some music that connects you to deep feelings of hope. We don’t need to wait until the harvest and holiday season to change the routine. (Just so you know, this coming week I’ll take a couple of my ceramic pumpkins off the shelf and strategically place them around my office. Even with the teasing, it makes me so happy.)

If you need it, do it.