Riverside Reflections November 2011
Rev. Millie Rochester
A Classic Peanuts comic strip I recall featured Linus writing a letter to Santa Claus. Uncertain what he wanted, Linus suggested that Santa send him a catalog – just more proof that the late Charles Schulz truly created “classics.” At this time of year, wish books, in the form of newspaper flyers and other media ads, in addition to store catalogs, are becoming ubiquitous, and they’re not just for children.
I complain every year about how early this cycle begins, and don’t know why I’m still surprised to hear holiday music two weeks before Halloween. When I was a child, regardless of when the shopping actually began, the kick-off for advertising was traditionally the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and holiday decorations were ceremonially displayed the day after Thanksgiving (the U.S. version of Thanksgiving, in November).
Historically, as the daylight hours grew shorter and the weather in much of the world colder, I can imagine our distant ancestors drawing closer together, seeking comfort in the presence of one another – the essence of what I associate with both Thanksgiving and the winter holidays.
Imagine for a time your own “wish book,” filled not with things but qualities. Imagine the gifts you bring to others – gifts of generosity and community when we come together, whether to comfort or to celebrate; gifts of loving kindness.
The coming weeks offer many opportunities to give and receive such gifts, some seasonal, some perennial. Perhaps you will be lucky enough to spend time with our children and youth; participate in an Adult Program such as “Articulating Our UU Faith” or a Chalice Circle; volunteer on a Thursday at church for Winnipeg Harvest, whose offerings are especially vital at this time of year; collaborate with one or more of the many committees that do the work of the congregation; or simply attend church services on Sunday mornings. I assure you, when you are absent, you are missed!
The greatest gift of all is our presence for one another, the relationships we form and nurture. May this holiday season that is fast approaching bring you gifts that truly make our world a better place. May you know you are loved.