When is the right time to listen to Christmas music? In my house, I usually get started around Nov. 1 (no emails please). My sister-in-law used to forbid it in the house until after dessert had been served at Thanksgiving. This question goes along with “when can you decorate for autumn, when can the first Halloween decorations appear and when is it OK to put up the tree? I have to admit, I haven’t heard many fights over when to put out the menorah.
I guess the point is, families and individuals all have different ideas about this and that’s fine, but one of the reasons I push the limits of when to celebrate, especially in the last couple of years, is that I really need the colors of the seasons. I really crave the joys of the decorations and the lights and I love listening to the holiday jazz radio channel on my streaming music station as the leaves fall and the autumn changes to those first early days of winter.
As Halloween hits this week and we head into the holiday season, as complicated as the holidays can be, I encourage you to pause, find that piece of music, hang that strand of lights or reflect on that memory that brings you joy. There are so many pressing issues and needs in this world; they are there today and they will be there tomorrow. There is important work to do in this world and that too was there yesterday and will be there tomorrow.
We all need joy. Celebration, gratitude and deeper connection are maybe more important now than in most of our lifetimes. Let us seek to find the joy in the celebrations of the coming holiday season. Find in our hearts the deeper messages of the meaning of community, connection, love, being part of something bigger than ourselves and swimming in that river of goodness that calls to us all.
When these celebrations help remind us of this river, when the rituals of the season help connect us to the sense of joy, when our love for each other helps us feel the spirit of the underlying meanings, it all helps us overcome the separation many of us are experiencing in these challenging times.
UUCF will have many activities, events and opportunities for worship over the next couple of months. I hope that we all can find something that connects, fills and/or grounds us. Our resilience in these times can be bolstered and sustained by these opportunities for communal connection and joy, so let us travel these days in shared purpose to deepen in love and find our sustenance for the journey.