Religious Education Corner
The winter holidays often bring wonderful memories and feelings of nostalgia. As we raise our children, we recall fondly family traditions from our own childhood. We want to share these with our children. As many of us are not born-Unitarian Universalists, we often incorporate cultural and religious traditions from our families of origin especially around this time of the year. We struggle with wanting to keep some traditions and discard others.
I grew up Episcopalian and my husband Roman Catholic. So, we both brought traditional Christian celebrations to our winters. We both celebrated Christmas. My family celebrated with church and gifts on Christmas morning and when we were older, Christmas Eve service. My husband’s family had children going to bed early on Christmas Eve while parents stayed up late putting up the Christmas tree, frantically putting together bikes and trains and wrapping furiously. It meant exhausted parents on Christmas Day. My husband wanted to continue this tradition in our home while the children were young. There is something to be said for the oohs and aahs on Christmas morning and the gazillion gifts left under that beautiful tree by that jolly old elf. But once the children were old enough to not be “believers” anymore, that tradition went out the chimney. And believe me, it wasn’t soon enough. Now that my children are young adults, it is a much more sedate affair. Christmas Eve dinner with friends, Christmas Eve service at the Fellowship, sleep in Christmas morning, a leisurely breakfast with friends and opening of gifts with family.
So, some family suggestions to think about for celebrating the winter holidays in a UU kind of way:
Make the season more about doing and giving and less about getting.
Light more fires and spend more time near the magic of the Christmas tree.
Have special ornaments for each child with their name and the date on it. These can be the beginnings for starting their own tree ornament collection someday.
Open a “tree present” on Christmas Eve. It’s a small gift from the tree (usually an ornament) thanking us for letting it be a part of our family and including it in our celebration.
Spend a day making nut and fruit treats for our animal neighbors and decorating the same special tree outdoors with them each year.
Join in community holiday celebrations.
Light a winter solstice Yule log.
These are just a few ideas you may want to incorporate into your own family winter celebrations. Please join us for our intergenerational winter holiday service on December 21st. Make that one of your new family traditions.
~ Gretta Johnson-Sally, DRE
RE December Dates to remember:
Saturday, December 6: Holiday Craft Fair. 10am to 3 pm at the Fellowship
Saturday, December 6: Children’s Night Out at the Fellowship – parents can drop children off. We will provide, dinner, games, crafts and a winter movie. 6-9pm.
Sunday, December 7: Social Justice Sunday, “Souper Sunday”, Mixed age RE Classes, RE Committee Meeting at 9am, youth group
Sunday, December 14: RE Classes Sunday Lesson #5, youth group
Sunday, December 21: Intergenerational Service, No RE Classes, youth group
Wednesday, December 24” Christmas Eve services
Sunday, December 28: Holiday Week – no RE Classes, no youth group.