It is that time of year again. The holidays are upon us. As Unitarian Universalists, we draw on our many sources, including Christian, Jewish, and earth-centered teachings. Many congregations will honor these teachings in some way this month by celebrating Christmas, lighting the menorah, holding a Winter Solstice service, and more. Of course, our families will have their own time honored traditions to share as well.
My family and I decorate a tree each year. The kids choose a new ornament each year to symbolize something that reresents their year. We have everything from an Irish dancer to a NH Loon. As I begn to think more about this holiday, I wondered how we could bring more Unitarian Universlism into our traditions. How could we bring it home?
A few years ago, I atteded a Renaissance Module focusing on curriculum. One of the group projects was to develop a Multigenerational Holiday Service. One of the elements of the service we designed, was to have the children come forward and place UU symbols on the tree at the front of the sanctuary to serve as a lovely reminder of the promises we make to each other. The 7 principles were reflected by using the symbols from the Spirit Play curriculum, designed by Nita Penfold .
· Respect all (red gift)
· Offer love (orange heart)
· Yearn to learn about ourselves, each other, and the mystery (yellow flame)
· Grow in our understanding of what is right and true (green fir tree)
· Believe in our ideas and act on them (blue bell)
· Insist on liberty, justice and freedom for all (indigo dove)
· Value the earth, our home which we share with so many others (violet world)
My family and I began to create these new ornaments, one for each of our principles. In creating each ornament, we were able to speak about our understanding of our principles, and our faith. I imagine we will do the same each year when we unwrap them and place them on on our tree.
Come to think of it, this could work as a great Multigenerational activity in a congregation. Members of all ages coming together to create their own ornaments of UU symbols. I can imagine families connecting with others through the activity, and being able to look at those symbols at home as another reminder of their faith.
This is one way my family will bring Unitarian Universalism home this year. How will you?