Or, what I learned at church today.
I went to UU services today. The service touched on a sampling of the variety of holidays we all celebrate this month: Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa. We had a Solstice story and hymn, a Hanukkah meditation and hymn, an Advent homily, and a Kwanzaa video. It was very nice to get this sampling of many different traditions. (And on top of that, our Share the Plate partner was the Humanists of Tallahassee. [Our collections during service are split 50-50 with an outside organization that we partner with – several different ones throughout the year.])
But I felt a little odd. Where was mine?
Now, don’t get me wrong – it’s my fault that mine wasn’t included. The minister had put out a call from the congregation: what do you celebrate and how do you celebrate it? I didn’t answer that call, partly because I didn’t know what to say. And then, as the thoughts that never solidify in my head often do, this thought got lost and fell away in the building madness of holiday preparation (to say nothing of a newfound diagnosis of scoliosis, plus a CT urogram that I get tomorrow – yippee).
I celebrate the Solstice, but I call it the Festival of Ra. All I do is do my Daily Rite to Ra, instead of to Aset or Sekhmet or any of my usual Netjeru. I wear sun-related things this month, and our holiday wreath includes a terra cotta sun hanging from the middle. What’s my minister supposed to do with that?!
But I guess I should have tried. The Solstice story referred to Mother Earth. I believe in Father Earth (Geb).
There were references, of course, to the four seasons. My faith has three. In the ancient Egyptian calendar, it’s the season of Peret, or planting. Flood season, Akhet, ended earlier this month. The Egyptians would have been busy (and maybe are today) planting the fields that were flooded by the Nile, hoping for a bountiful harvest in three and a half months.
Having said all that, the Solstice still approaches on Wednesday. Ra is still coming to the ebb of His power. I will still celebrate the coming of longer days, the return of the Sun.
A friend of mine found that there are 17 (seventeen!) holidays celebrated in December. How is any congregation supposed to keep up with that?! That’s an impossible task. And yet, today, I find myself relating – in a way, however small – to those who are not seen.
Okay, I’m done whining. Isn’t this pathetic? Are you all playing your world’s smallest violins for me? 🙂
At any rate, my wish for you is this: Whatever holiday (or holidays) you celebrate, may they be joyous. Kheperu!