Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement… get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually.
To be spiritual is to be amazed.
-Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
We are entering the season of wonder. We are transitioning to a time of the longest nights, coolest weather, greatest stillness, and, in some places, snowfall. I have vivid and comforting childhood memories of the first snowflakes magically falling from the sky and then everything being covered by a glistening blanket of snow. In the springtime, summer, and autumn, the energy of life flourishes in nature in an array of colors and through dynamic cycles of growth and decay but the winter marks a period when change is almost suspended and nature begins to rest. The bright colors of the preceding seasons are replaced with muted tones and the white of snowfall. There is an openness and a spaciousness that’s created by these seasonal transitions that seems to invite us to pause – as if it were the first snowfall – in awe before the mystery and beauty of life.
Wonder is our spiritual theme for contemplation in this month that includes the arrival of winter and the celebrations of the many holidays of light. Hanukkah and Kwanzaa candles are lit, Christmas trees and Yule Logs are illuminated, and sacred stories of new stars and babies being born are retold in this season of wonder. We can find renewal in the spaciousness, stillness, and restfulness of the winter, and in the holiday stories of light, hope, and peace. This is a time for the gathering of family and friends, the giving of gifts, and the sharing of warm meals. Our church community will gather and honor many of the holidays of this season and we hope that you will join us for our special Holy Starlight Christmas Eve Service at 6pm in our sanctuary.
Our friends at Souls Matters invite us to ponder these theme-based questions together this month: What was your first experience of wonder? Your first moment of awe? What childhood book served as a doorway into wonder for you? How does its imprint on you remain? Has age impeded or assisted your experience of wonder? How has the location of wonder changed for you over time? Has it shifted from the stars to the woods? From the birth of planets to the birth of your child? From the physical feats your body allowed to the storied wrinkles of your hand? If you were to list your top 10 values/priorities, where would “experiencing wonder” be on the List? When was the last time you stood in wonder at your life partner? Can you imagine someone standing in wonder at you? If you were to make one change to your daily routine to let a bit more wonder in, what would it be?
Our Pastoral Care Team knows this season can be difficult for many. If you are in need of confidential spiritual support and companionship, please let us know by emailing us at email@example.com or by calling the church office and requesting pastoral care. We are here to support our members through seasons of grief and difficulty and to celebrate with our community in times of elation and joy.
Wishing you and yours a joyous and wonderful holiday season!
Yours in ministry and love,
Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae