Read the full issue of this week’s Liberal here.
In this week’s Liberal, Rev. Justin writes:
“Christmas is not your birthday!”
That’s a what a Christian colleague of mine once said, as we talked about Christmas pageants, candlelight services, and how we celebrate Christmas in our respective traditions.
“Christmas is not your birthday.” That line has stuck with me.
Perhaps a few of us were actually born on December 25, but for the rest of us, Christmas is not our birthday. In the Christian tradition, Christmas represents the birth of Jesus. In Unitarian Universalism, we celebrate not only the birth of a human being named Jesus, but the birth of every child, on every night. We celebrate the birth of light, hope, and possibility in this season of darkness.
And we remember that Christmas is not our birthday.
For me, this is a powerful reframing of what the holidays might be: a time to take inventory of our lives, the many gifts that already reside there, and to turn our gaze and our giving outside of our circle of friends and family. Through our collective giving to something larger than ourselves, we can live out the true meaning of the holidays, consume less, and help hope and possibility come to life around us.
This year, as we did in 2015 and 2013, we’re inviting church members, families, and friends to cut their holiday spending in half, and to give what they’ve saved to Marnita’s Table, our 2017 Holiday Giving Recipient. Marnita’s Table is a local organization that is dedicated to bridging gaps across difference. Working with neighborhood groups, government agencies, schools, and faith communities, Marnita’s Table empowers people of all ages and backgrounds to make genuine changes toward equity, inclusion, and understanding.
On December 17, during both worship services, in a powerful ritual of giving, we will invite everyone present to give what they have saved. If you’re unable to join us on December 17, we hope you will mail in your gift or give online. (We are accepting gifts from now through the end of the holidays.) Learn more on our website.
And if you are financially struggling, we want you to know that this church is here for you. Please reach out to me, or to any of our staff, if you are struggling during the holidays or throughout the year. Thanks to the generosity of church members and friends, the Ministers’ Emergency Fund is there to offer financial support during times of need.
It is always a blessing when we are able to be there for one another.
I’ll see you in church,