Our worship theme for December is “Awed and Odd”, and as part of developing our worship themes, I try to find an “anchor image” that speaks to me in some way about it. When I saw this vision of the Nativity, I immediately knew I had found my anchor image for “Awed and Odd”!
If you look carefully at the picture, you’ll notice that the roles of Mary and Joseph are being played by Counsellor Troy and Commander Riker from “Star Trek”, the Magi are Darth Vaders from “Star Wars”, the “good news” of the birth is being proclaimed by Batman, and the entire affair is being attended by a T-Rex and an assortment of odd characters! It is the juxtaposition of one of the most significant stories in human history told by fantasy figures.
It seems to me that this picture is a wonderful embodiment of how I see this month. December is a month of contrasts and oddities. It is a month of cold times and welcome warmth, of long dark nights and bright fairy lights, of appalling greed and amazing acts of generosity. It is a month when “everyone” seems to be required to be happy- even if they are not, and we proclaim “peace on earth” while fully aware of the wars raging in the world. Christmas carols sound from every corner, while frantic drivers honk horns (or worse!) in irritation.
This month we will spend our Sunday mornings together (and one evening!) exploring some of the contrasts and contradictions, the things that make us “odd” and the things that make us “awed”.
On our first Sunday of the month (Dec 3) we’ll explore “Love in the Midst of Hatred”. In a world all-too-willing to judge, marginalize, reject, and hate, how do we find the will and strength to love? Our beloved choir will be leading us in music
On December 10, we’ll be visited by Steve Buckingham, of the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland (UULMD). We’ll be exploring how we can bring “Hope in the Midst of Hopelessness” by “Resisting and Engaging”. Steve will also be our guest musician for the day!
On December 17, we’ll look at “Presence in the Midst of Loneliness”. December, with what some consider its over-emphasis on cheerful and jolly, can be an especially lonely time. It also seems that social media, rather than bringing us closer together, is actually making many of us feel LESS connected and MORE isolated. In this service we’ll consider what a “ministry of presence” might look like as we strive to deepen our connections to each other and the sacred. The “Bay Brass” ensemble will be our guest musicians- you won’t want to miss it!
December 24, at 7 pm ONLY, will be our traditional “Christmas Eve by Candlelight” service. Sam Eddington will bring his beautiful piano skills, we’ll provide the cider and gingerbread, and you bring your beautiful selves as we spend a warm, quiet moment together celebrating this ancient festival.
On December 31 Dottie Yeatman and Sue Bromm will help us usher in the New Year with a “Ritual for the New Year”. At no other time is there such a collective sense of the passage of time than the New Year. On this New Year’s Eve Sunday we will ask for, and offer blessings, pray for Wisdom to guide us, and invite the light of New Year to reside in our homes and our hearts as we take candles from our worship space to our homes.
I hope you will join us for this “month of Sundays”. We are, indeed, an “odd” people who have an amazing capacity to be “awed”. May your December, however you choose to spend it, be filled with beauty, wonder, warmth, kindness, love and delight.
Wishing you peace and blessings,
PS- And please join us for our annual “Cookies, Carols, and Silent Auction” on Dec 2 at 7 pm. It just won’t be the same without you!