In this season of gifting, I am so grateful for the gift that you are to me. There is so much loss and grief and numbness and weariness, and yet still we are making meaning and making music together.
I look forward to gathering virtually with many of you this Thursday at 7pm (EST) for our traditional—modified only slightly for our current reality—Christmas Eve service of readings and carols. I joyfully anticipate hearing the readings and the music that inevitably make me feel like the holiday has fully arrived. (Have a candle with you to light at the end!)
And yet, even as I look forward, I also feel sad and nostalgic as I think about not being together in the sanctuary for this service in particular. Usually on Christmas Eve I anticipate seeing young adults and other family members who join us only once a year. I love the moments when hundreds of us sit briefly in silence and stillness in a very dark sanctuary. I am always moved to watch the candlelight spread throughout the room. And to my ears, the sound of your voices singing Silent Night is one of the most beautiful sounds in the world.
I will miss those things, and I’m saddened by the loss. Like all grief, the sadness is borne of something precious—a love for all that we’ve shared over the years, for the memories unique to this annual event, for the extra-special Christmas hugs.
I will miss those things, and I continue to remind myself that the current circumstances are temporary, that we will be together in person again one day.
And I know that memories of this holiday—and even our UUCC Christmas Eve gathering(s)—aren’t joyful for everyone the way they have been for me; that there are those among us who have been isolated and grief-stricken since long before the pandemic began; that for some of our members, the virtual connections have been better, not worse, than in-person get-togethers. So, I’m humbled by the reminder that the reality is so much greater than my personal experience of it.
Thank you, UUCC, for the ways that you continue to teach me about life and community and beauty and wholeness, amidst it all.
As the seasons turn and this calendar year comes to its blessed end, I wish for you to be healthy, brave, loving, and loved. And I’ll look forward to more meaning and music-making in 2021.
Be well, precious people.
Barbara A Butler-Schmidt
uplifting and thought provoking as usual. thank you