In continuation with my 8 week series (with a week off for Thanksgiving), I am discussing the 3rd principle this week:
Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations
This principle outlines how people should interact with each other and what we should do with one another. This principle focuses on the congregation but I believe that this is something worth bringing into all areas of life.
Accepting and encouraging one another is important in working towards the greater good and allowing all of us to be our best selves.
With the winter holiday season approaching I recognize that this encouragement extends to all the strangers who are going to wish me “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” or whatever festival they choose to celebrate in the ensuing next 6 weeks. I take all of these wishes in the spirit that they are intended. If someone said Happy Chanukah or Joyous Kwanza to me I understand that they are wishing me well in the spirit of the season. I am about celebrating the season and however you want to give me good wishes for this time of year I will smile and graciously say “you too!” This season isn’t about one upmanship or which holiday is the “real” reason. It’s about surviving the darkest part of the year to see the light again. It’s about coming together and sharing the love of the human species (or other species).
Did you ever hear the story of the Christmas tree
Who just didn’t want to change the show?
He liked living in the woods and playing with squirrels.
He liked icicles and snow.
He liked wolves and eagles and grizzly bears,
And critters and creatures that crawled.
Why bugs were some of his very best friends
Spiders and ants and all.
Now that’s not to say that he ever looked down
On a vision of twinkle lights,
Or on mirrored bubbles and peppermint canes,
And a thousand other delights.
And he often had dreams of tiny reindeer
And a jolly old man in a sleigh
Full of toys and presents and wonderful things
And a story of Christmas Day.
Oh, Alfie believed in Christmas alright.
He was full of Christmas cheer
All of each and every day
And all throughout the year.
To him it was more than a special time,
Much more than a special day.
It was more than a special story, it was more than a beautiful story.
It was a special kind of way.
You see some folks have never heard a jingle bell ring
And they’ve never heard of Santa Claus
They’ve never heard the story of the Son of God
That made Alfie pause.
Did that mean that they’d never know of peace on Earth
Or the Brotherhood of Man
Or know how to love, or know how to give,
If they can’t no one can.
You see, life is a very special kind of thing,
Not just for a chosen few,
But for each and every living, breathing thing
Not just me and you.
So when you’re at Christmas prayers this year
Alfie asked me if I’d ask you
To say a prayer for the wind and the water and the wood
And those who live there too.
As we creep towards the winter solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere and the days get shorter and colder, this is a season to remind us of the importance of loving each other; we are supposed to be sharing our harvest bounty to get through the cold, shadowy months of winter. This is a season of accepting and encouraging the growth of each other from the dark into the light.