For many of us, the holidays are a time to connect with family and friends, to catch up on stories and journeys over food and drink, and to spend time with loved ones. Some of us revel in the excitement of getting that must-have LeapPad for the precious 4 year old in our lives, the wrapping, decorating, baking, cooking, welcoming, visiting, eating. Others of us sigh, take a deep breath and trudge on through it. There are those of us who would prefer to avoid the holiday season altogether, when all the bustle brings out the snark and growl in us. For some of us, the holiday season accentuates pain and loss, tragedy and grief. Others of us find quiet moments of meaning and joy to keep us sane and help us celebrate. Many of us give of our time and resources. Some of us work during this season – writing and delivering sermons, ministering, coordinating, conducting, singing, and maybe collapsing at the end of December.
To rise, to rise each morning with the faint glow of starlight on our backs as we head into the joys, the surprises, the challenges of each day sometimes with awe and wonder, perhaps expectation, perhaps dread…
To rise, to rise each day peering over waterlines, sandbags, walls, garbage, bunkers… in windswept deserts and streets lined with sweet smelling olive trees alike.
What a gift we are given when we can rise in freedom, of some sort, to some degree.
This year, for once, for one honest moment, let us forgive our ancestors for the real and true roots from which the Thanksgiving ritual emerged. Let us acknowledge the less than honorable circumstances that created the “original” table of abundance that North Americans attempt to re-create each year. Let us acknowledge and forgive, each other and ourselves for perpetuating inaccurate history.
For how can we be truly grateful if we do not?
We rise with you, Spirit of Truth and Justice, to stroll through all the many gardens of gratitude, inhaling the crystal clear air of freedoms attained, through rough and tumble avenues of debate and destruction.
This year, in solidarity, let the hands across North America reach toward each others’ hearts to feel the pulse that has longed for centuries to beat as one: Whole, spirit-filled and grace-full, swimming in the river of thankfulness for the clarity such intentions provide.
This year let us give not until it hurts, but until we can look in the mirror and know that we are reaching profoundly into the wells of gratitude, know that we are sitting in the pure joy of it, tearfully acknowledging the gift to rise each day and make bread or beds, give smiles, elicit laughter, cross the line that is personal space to meet in the circle that is a hug.
Spirit of Compassion, you know that if we were never to give thanks, these gifts would still abound.
You know, we would rise and walk in the dark of emptiness, missing completely the air of humanity the being-ness that is grounded in the awareness, the age-old knowledge that we are all one, and together create the One.
This year, let us commit to always rise above wherever it is we find ourselves.
Let us give thanks for the interdependent web that brought food to our tables, for the spirits that gave of themselves so that we might eat, for the bended backs that labored in the hot sun and all the carriers that reached their destinations.
In this rich well of appreciation, let us stretch our hand across the table of abundance, pressing lifeline against lifeline, giving thanks that we can do so, and gently holding in our hearts those who cannot, and could not from the beginning.
Spirit of Our Deepest Desires, this year, let us commit to truly rising as One Unitarian Universalist voice working for and loving all of humanity.
Que asi sea. So may it be. Blessed Be.
Amen. Ashe. Ho! As Salaam Alaikum. Shalom.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marta I Valentín
With thanks to the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Worship Web.
Hosted by the Unitarian Fellowship of London | 557 Clark Rd, London | Oct 28, 2017
Program Information here.
Children’s Programming for Saturday – Ages 9-11 years. 12 year olds may attend either the Children’s Program or the Youth Con.
A VERY Special Children’s Program is being planned for the Western Region Fall Gathering. We will be using the new children’s Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Reflection Guide from the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Team. A local team is creating an insightful and fun learning experience for the children of all the UU churches in the Western Region, and a special invitation is extended to children. Join us, and learn to become life-long healers in the reconciliation process to bring healing to all nations that make up Turtle Island (the name bestowed on North America by some Indigenous Peoples).
Childcare is available for ages 0-8 on-site at Wildrose United Church. Meals are to be taken with parents. Fee: $50
General Program Schedule for both Children’s age groups:
- 8:45 a.m. – Gather at Wild Rose United Church
- 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 pm – Programming
- 12 noon – Join adults for lunch
- 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. – Programming
- 3:30 p.m. – Join families for walk back to Unitarian Church of Calgary
- 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. – Children’s program will take place at the Unitarian Church of Calgary
Registration is now closed.