Each year at our church, we honor earth-centered traditions as we celebrate the Winter solstice, the longest night of the year, December 21st. We celebrate the stillness of the season and the hope of the return of the light. Now darkness triumphs; and yet, gives way and changes into light. We are awake in the dark. We call the sun from the womb of the night. As we celebrate the solstice, we join across time and space all the festivals of light emerging from the dark. May all the yule fires, the Hanukkah candles, the Christmas lights – and all the lights we are about to kindle on the Winter solstice – not only brighten the darkness of winter but also brighten the darkness of our hearts. May all these lights – set ablaze by people of good will across the globe – assure that spring will follow winter, hope will triumph over despair, peace will eclipse war, and love will outlast hate.
Consider the words of Marianne Williamson:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous.
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of the Universe.
You playing small doesn't serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to manifest the glory of creation that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone!
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fears,
our presence automatically liberates others!
Unitarian Universalists find meaning in the traditions that honor the interconnected web of which we are a part. We acknowledge nature's role in our beginnings and endings, and connect through voice, movement, quiet contemplation, readings, and sharing our hopes for the coming return of the light. All ages attend this moving service, and enjoy the chanting and music performed by members. After the service, we feast! Wassail and cookies help warm our hearts as we gather in joy and welcome our new season of light.