Call and Response: Journeys in UU Lifespan Faith Development

Let the Ceremony of Light Begin

By Gail Forsyth-Vail

Christmas candles

Christmas candles

Two weeks ago, I was part of an interfaith gathering where we asked one another, “What is weighing on you? What signs of hope are you finding? How do you see God’s spirit moving in the world?” One by one, people named the troubles that swirl around our communities and our world: racism, violence, despair, poverty, xenophobia, selfishness. We named those things which offered hope and promise. We sat in silence until someone remarked that we all seem to be waiting, waiting for hope and joy to be reborn in our hearts. Waiting and longing, in this advent season, for a sign that peace on earth is coming, and that good will among people is possible.

Unitarians and Universalists are well represented among the architects of our contemporary North American Christmas season. Our faith is evident in the way we celebrate the season: love reaches out beyond our own families; hope can be found in the most unlikely of places; our human hands can do the work of making this world a better place for all people. Even in the face of voices and events that suggest otherwise, Christmas offers us a chance to affirm together the vision that shapes and challenges us as a people of faith.

My family and I will be among the thousands who will head to our Unitarian Universalist faith community on Christmas Eve to hear an ancient story, to sing familiar music, to take in the beauty of candlelight and greens on a dark winter night. And we will be there when children holding lit tapers are charged with bearing the light, bringing it to others, bidding the assembled community to follow the star:

Tell them the star means wisdom,

Tell them the star means kindness

Tell them the star means understanding,

And leads to a vision of a fairer world.

The staff of the UUA Faith Development Office wishes you and those you love a holiday season that renews and strengthens you for the journey ahead!

Next Steps!

Unitarian Universalist readings, meditations, chalice lightings, and blessings for winter holidays can be found in the Worship Web. You might especially want to check out the UU Advent Calendar, by the Reverend Ralph Roberts.

About the Author

Gail Forsyth-Vail

Gail Forsyth-Vail, a credentialed religious educator, master level, is the author or developmental editor of several UU history curricula and resources. Before retiring, she served as interim director of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Lifespan Faith Engagement Office.


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