So here we are. As I write, this year’s final lighting of the chanukiah, the Chanukah menorah, is tomorrow at sunset. The Winter Solstice falls at 11:28 AM, three days away on Thursday. And one week away, next Monday, Christmas comes. My hope for you is that peace and joy attend you through these holidays and as we bring this year to a close. And for those of you who struggle with the holidays because of losses and difficult and injurious things that have happened in your past, may you find time for respite from those public expressions of joy that remind you of how these days are not restorative for you as they are for some.
Indeed, if we look at the religious story of Christmas it is not all angels in the night sky and magi bearing gifts that cost enough that they would be proper presents for royalty. It is not all “Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” The religious story also tells of homelessness and refugees in exile, fearful for their lives. It tells of a horrible massacre carried out because of a bad reading of sacred texts by a ruler who knew he was a fraud.
So if the story as originally told wasn’t all Christmas puppies and kitties tumbling over each other and leisure time for PlayStation 4, if, instead it was the most challenging time of the year, how can we read the words of the angels hovering over the fields in the night sky? When we tell that part of the story, what can it mean? Peace on earth! Goodwill!
There they are in the sky. A spectacle. They do nothing because they are declaring a mission for humanity. “Ours are the arms, the fingers, the voices; ours are the hands, the eyes, the smiles.” We bear the responsibility for making our world a better place. It is the work of humanity, not of hovering angels.
Through this season our Fellowship is participating in the work of repairing the world through our ongoing commitment to the food security of our area through our contributions of non-perishable food items to be distributed through the food pantry at First Presbyterian Church in Waynesboro, through collections of hats and gloves that we place under the Christmas tree in our sanctuary to be distributed to local children in need, by gathering our financial gifts in the Guest at Your Table program of the UU Service Committee, with a final special collection on January 7. Many of you are engaged in political action that aims to correct new and long-standing wrongs.
Life provides roadblocks and challenges. It is up to us to help each other and the world. I am proud of this congregation’s work in the angels’ charge.
Peace, Blessings, and Happy Holidays!