We cannot celebrate every single day. While I am grateful to the Labor movement every day, I set aside Labor Day (and May Day) to observe that; just as I am grateful to our armed forces, we have Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day as special to them. As the great religious educator Sophia Lyon Fahs wrote,
Each night a child is born is a holy night.
A time for singing, a time for wondering, a time for worshiping.
…and so while every night is a Holy night, I set aside Christmas to remember that every child is a holy child and every one of them deserves a better world than the one that exists, and so it is my job to make this world better for them. That is what Christmas means to me: Hope and Dedication to the Beloved Community.
Whatever your personal belief about Jesus, we ask you to honor the spirit of Christmas; that the world is redeemable and that we have every reason to hope. Christmas is a season where the cold is still settling in, but the sun is making its return to the sky. We have every reason to be optimistic, and this is the season when we have both a physical representation and a cultural myth to serve as examples.
The moral arc of the Universe is long, and while it’s progress is not steady and its end point unknowable, all of history tells us that it leads to wider justice, more inclusion, and greater equality. There have been and likely always will be setbacks and regressions; we will move forward and then we will slide backward part way. But we will regain our footing and progress will come again, and we’ll make it farther.
Christmas is the season to remember and be hopeful. While there are aspects of the Biblical account that I certainly do not believe as reported, what I do believe is that a reform-minded individual can inspire a small group of people. What I do believe is that a group of inspired people can change the world. I have to believe that a message of compassion, inclusion, and justice can make the whole world a better place. I have to believe that something can.
Every day is a Holy Day because every day comes with new hope. Every day brings opportunity. Every day, children are born, and not only do they inspire hope, but we have a duty to them to give them something to hope for. History says that, with effort and patience, we have moved towards Beloved Community.
In the words of Charles Dickens (Unitarian), through his newly reformed miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
Merry Christmas, and Happy Always
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