All the Colors and Flavors of December
Scattered across my desk are strips of paper with song titles – Gloria of the Angels, We Three Kings, Silent Night, and about 30 more. Rebecca and I lay out four sheets of paper, one for each holiday-themed service upcoming, and begin laying out the songs on the different papers, trying to make sure that we don’t miss out on a popular favorite nor choose the same song for all four services. We debate how well-known a song is, does it fit the theme of that particular service, how difficult is it to sing. But last week was Hanukkah, so at least we don’t have to worry about overlap there!
Life as a UU minister in December. It is crazy and hectic, but I also feel so extremely lucky. I posted a question on Facebook, asking how the Christmas-lovers keep their inner “Buddy-the-Elf” going. Someone asked how I do it, and I wanted to say, “By being a minister!” What a privilege I have. It is my job to engage with all the different “flavors” of December – the warm and cozy feelings of Hanukkah at home, and Advent; the community fun of the Hanging of the Greens party; the potential craziness that a childrens’ pageant holds; making space for grief and emptiness in the Blue Christmas vespers service; finding the inspiration and new vision in old stories; honoring long-repeated traditions. Making sure the candles are ready for Christmas Eve. Joyful anticipation. With a little anxiety thrown in to keep me on my toes.
In the culinary world, putting together meals that bring together many different tastes and textures leads to greater satisfaction than simple “one note” meals. That’s perhaps one reason why the Thanksgiving meal is such a classic – the savoriness of turkey (or tofurkey!), with the bitter tartness of cranberries, the saltiness of the maligned green bean casserole, the sweetness of sweet potatoes, the richness of mashed potatoes. All the colors – red, white, green, orange, brown.
As you navigate December, may you find activities to speak to all of your feelings. Enough of the crush and rush to pep you up, with time for the quiet and meditative. Opportunities to be around friends and family, and also being able to sneak away for some solitude. Silliness and laughing … and grieving, too, when that’s needed. All the colors and flavors.