Rev. Lissa Gundlach

My short message for the January 2022 newsletter is simply to share Neil Gaiman’s New Year Wish!

You will probably hear me say this every year, but can you believe the holidays are here again? Wasn’t it just August? Maybe it has something to do with the pandemic’s “endlessly March 2020” distortion of time, but I’ve been noticing a startling new trend this holiday season Christmas trees before  Thanksgiving!! I noticed it first around Halloween—photos of decorated trees popping up between the spider webs and pumpkins.

On my regular walks around the block, several houses have their trees and lights up already. While I still remain a strict “not until the day after Thanksgiving” decorator, I have to admit that as I plan a menu for my family’s Thanksgiving festivities I am already preparing for Christmas dinner too! This is a yearly reminder from your minister that there’s no need to rush through Christmas, and no one right way to experience your holidays! Many of us learned from the past 18 months that we can make our own traditions and rituals, including choosing when, how, and if we celebrate.

For many of us, the holidays are an incredibly busy time. It’s easy to get carried away and stressed by all of the preparations– the shopping, cooking, crafting, decorating and planning.

We can choose to slow down, and truly enjoy the winter holiday moments at our own pace. We can allow ourselves to feel the complicated emotions and expectations that the holidays bring up. We can listen to our needs and honor our boundaries.

By bringing mindfulness into our holidays, we resist being caught up in consumerism and perfectionism. We become more aware of the peace and joy which is present in each moment, how Christmas is about savoring the true gifts in our lives—health, family, friends, and our beloved UUCLB community. Christmas comes in the way it always does. It rushes by just as fast as it came. If we blink, we might miss it. So however you choose to celebrate, may you savor each moment of your holidays, delighting in the gifts of the season.

May you know your church community is here for you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Rev. Lissa

Message written for the December 2021 Advance Newsletter.