December is a Time of Expectation – our monthly Soul Matters theme


Solstice fire rituals. Christmas advent wreaths and calendars. Hanukkah candles. Kwanzaa candles. This is the season of ritual — rituals of preparation and expectation to be exact. Expecting and trusting the light to return is no easy task. It’s one thing to intellectually believe that the dark always gives way to the light; it’s quite another to feel it in your bones.
All religions say this task is much easier with ritual, and with rituals done together. So this month, recruit your family or circle of friends and engage in a winter ritual of expectation.
Your ritual could be setting up a special spot on your table for your Guest at Your Table box, and preparing to explain the work of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee to your visitors.gayt_box Don’t worry about the amount you will give. Instead focus on the decision making process of your family in donating money. Check out the ‘Money Map” and other resources on the spirituality of giving for families at http://tinyurl.com/WinterUUWorld
HANUKKAH-620x413Your family might spend a few minutes every night during Hanukkah with a candle, watching the flickering light and expressing gratitude for the miraculous things in your lives.advent-wreath11
You might make an Advent wreath. It could as simple as 4 candle holders on a large plate. The first candle is lit four Sundays before Christmas; two candles are lit on the second Sunday, etc. Traditionally three candles are purple and the last one is pink to remind the people of the joyful Christmas soon to come. Find four readings you like and read one each Sunday of Advent.
Make or purchase a wreath and lay it flat on a surface for a Yule wreath. Take a winter walk and see what natural trinkets your family can collect. Have family members gather around the wreath and consider it as a symbol of cycles of nature from winter through fall to winter again. Have family members each share something they appreciate about winter as they place their trinket on the wreath.
kwanzaaAttend the Annual Capital Kwanzaa Celebration at the NY State Museum. It’s free and all are welcome.
What other rituals and celebrations might you engage in this month in expectation of more light, more learning, more love?
In joyful service,
Leah