As another year comes to a close and the promise of a new year is upon us, I have witnessed the struggle which has challenged so many of us to persevere through this time of unprecedented firsts. From the unrelenting world-wide pandemic to political and cultural upheaval, to the attempted-normalization of anti-intellectualism and prejudice, to the crisis of climate degradation – our ability to cope, to find meaning, and moral fortitude has been pushed to the limit.
But this is the time of year for pushing back. It’s when so many of us pull out all the stops and say enough! It’s time for some cheer — bring on all the holiday bling: decorated trees, blinking lights, generations of ornaments, eggnog, oyster stew, sweet cookies, and all the songs! And for me, Christmas-time is one of the reasons I have always appreciated belonging to a church – especially our Unitarian Universalist Church.
One of the many things I love about being a Unitarian Universalist is embracing many theologies – and not just in an academic sense. Ours is a tradition that ‘gives us permission’ to claim more than one personal theology and so, when asked, I find myself saying I am UU who also embraces Humanism, Feminist Theology, a smattering of Zen Buddhism, and my spiritual practice is Earth-based.
During this time of the year, my Christian roots are also closer to the surface in that the Nativity Story, for me, has become a celebration of every child’s birth. My UU theology calls me to embrace the humanity of Jesus, therefore the birth of this particular baby, for me, is a deeply meaningful symbol of the divinity that lives within every person’s heart and reminds us to return to our best selves every time life gets in the way.
Also, this is the time for embracing the sacred darkness, that primordial space from which each life emerges. One of my favorite songs written by Ysaye Barnwell, is the inspiration for a poem written by a fellow UU minister, the Reverend Manish K Mishra-Marzetti. For me, this poem captures how this season feels and it reflects the love and light brought into this world each time a child is born.
Song of the Universe
For each child is born, a morning star rises and sings to the universe who we are.
Listen carefully … Can you hear the song?
The one sung for you when you were born.
The song sung by a cosmos in motion rejoicing at your life.
You, the result. You the outcome. You the celebration.
Listen carefully … Can you hear it still? A song of possibility.
A reminder that we still have time to be who and what we need to be.
Listen carefully … The vast expanse echoes a recognition that it’s not always easy.
Possibilities can be hard to pursue.
Roads not taken, wrong turns, destinations that disappoint.
Through this, the song persists.
The universe sings no less because time and space wear us thin.
The music calls us to recognize our limitations,
to recognize the song is best sung with others.
Here in community, bringing alive that most primordial and original impulse,
the desire to sing to the universe who we are,
to celebrate and share our lives with others.
DeBlessings to you and your loved ones. Rev. Kee.