Heart and Mind - December
Heart and Mind -- Dr. Lou Yock
I admit that I like Christmas lights. I enjoy seeing them pierce the darkness during the long winter nights. In my eternal over-analyzing, they seem to me a beacon of optimism and hope, a belief that the darkness will not go on forever. Even before Thanksgiving, walking around the neighborhoods after dark with my dogs Cletus and Piper, colorful Christmas lights were lighting our way.
With the troubles in the world and the troubles in the country though, I began to consider skipping the lights this year. When I first moved to my new home in town, I was excited that for the first time people other than myself would see them, and maybe enjoy them. Then alternatively, I weighed how the darkness around my house would be a more accurate reflection of the gloominess I felt. The apparent normalizing of bullying, misogyny, racism, and xenophobia was taking a toll.
Happily it came to my attention that we are making a point to decorate the church for the holidays with some new ideas, and that it would not only be decorated, but decorated soon and for the whole season. In addition, the worship committee decided to continue our practice of a Christmas Eve service, which this year also happens to be the first night of Hanukah—the Festival of Lights.
This year at People’s Church, the core of our seasonal celebrations deal with lighting the darkness, the resurgence of joy, and the never ending flame. Coincidentally, the banner we carried at General Assembly last June in Columbus, shows a lighthouse. In our UU tradition and heritage, we, the keepers of the flame, must not dim our lights. In the midst of the nonsense, it is all the more important we rise to the occasion and show that we will not give in to gloom. In fact, we are all the more ready to light the way.
And so my home will have lights, and the arbor vitae planted in front of my front room window will serve as my Solstice Shrub. The lights will go up, and burn brightly in the darkness.