Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Turning Inward and Turning Outward without getting dizzy

Ah December! I have such mixed emotions about this month. I want to turn my attention and focus inward and acknowledge the inner light as the outer light dims. And I want to celebrate more with family and friends, all the while, making gifts for everyone...

The revelry of this time of year really harkens back to pagan roots. After all, lighter days were ahead even though, in many places it was still cold. This celebration of light over darkness takes many forms.

As a religious educator I find the history of Christmas fascinating. Over the last three hundred years there were times when Christmas celebrations were outlawed, including Boston in the 18th century.

As a Unitarian Universalist , I realize not everyone had a Christmas experience or even the same Christmas experience growing up. So what do we do as a religious people? What does our own religion call us to do? In as much as we honor the wisdom path of many traditions, we can continue those from our own. We do not need to completely give up our past, it is part of the evolution of tradition in as much as we are part of it too. There are many festivals of light we might embrace as part of our own story.

But, for the sake of our youngest, we should not zoom through every religious tradition, leaving them wondering, what do we believe or what do you believe as a family? We also risk cultural appropriation when we try to celebrate everything without an understanding of what is happening to a culture or people now, as well as its history. We want what we do to be grounded in a deep understanding of the practice. This means an understanding of the negative aspects as well as positive and the culture and history from which it all arises. This is our responsibility as adults and religious UU's to each other and our children.