It’s a holiday week and the beginning of a lengthy festive season.
Diwali! Thanksgiving! Advent! Hanukkah! Solstice! Christmas! Kwanzaa! New Year!
And it’s still 2020.
So, many of the upcoming observances and celebrations and festivities are likely to be different from whatever is typical for each of us. For me, there’s a strong temptation to lament what’s lost, who we’re not going to see, what we’re not able to do. We’re not traveling, and no guests are coming here. We’re missing the usual time with grandparents and cousins, and no friends will gather around the local table, either.
Still, in this season of gratitude, I’m choosing to look for and name the blessings that are still ever-present. Like some of you heard on Sunday in our Giving Thanks service, I’m feeling especially grateful for healthcare workers and store clerks and teachers and relentless advocates … for Zoom and our all-volunteer tech team … for the exquisite diversity of genders and of bodies whom we honored in our Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience service on Friday evening … for masks and fresh basil and musicians and the U.S. Postal Service and the UUCC staff … for Dolly Parton and the hopeful outcome of the recent general election and curious children and scientists.
So many things—the more I notice, the more I see.
You also named some things for which you are grateful, which we captured in this word cloud during worship:
And I’m most definitely feeling grateful for you, UUCC—for who are in this world, and who you challenge and invite me to be, and for the fact that you are a congregation who trusts scientists and willingly follows the recommendations of epidemiologists and public health experts rather than pressuring the congregational leadership to return to in-person worship imprudently. I miss you and your hugs, and still I’m glad we agree that we’re making the right choices to remain physically apart from one another right now.
And relatedly—though not explicitly about gratitude—I’m pleased to share that our sibling congregation in Fort Collins, Colorado, is responding to 2020 and its pandemic(s) by being deliberate about spreading kindness and good cheer in its community and beyond. Foothills Unitarian has launched KINDemic: Making Kindness Contagious! “For as much as the virus can spread, as relentlessly as the wildfire grows, and as persistent as racism remains—there is another powerful movement: the movement of love, kindness, and human connection—always at work, a movement we can be a part of every day in small and big ways.”
And you are invited to participate. I encourage you to visit the KINDemic website, and log your acts of kindness in their Kindness Tracker. It’s “a movement of courageous love worth spreading”, indeed.
You and your loved ones have my love and good wishes this holiday week. This Thursday and Friday are staff holidays for UUCC, so we’re scrambling to prepare for Sunday’s worship service before we all take a bit of a break at the end of the week. I’m looking forward to a small break from the Zoom-meeting routine, even as this holiday will be bittersweet. I hope you also have something to which you look forward.
Be well, and let us gather together again before too long.