Dear Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist friends around the globe,
Looking back at 2010 I can only reflect on what a turbulent place this planet of ours is. Our climate has brought remarkable disruptions what with earthquakes and mudslides, piles of snow covering much of Europe, volcanoes erupting, droughts and floods in different parts of the world.
And then of course there are the human created problems of war and poverty and the like.
In times like these it is easy to sink into despair and wonder why we bother to even try.
And then Christmas comes with all of its promise and hope. For some of us it is the renewal of a divine covenant marked by God's promise fulfilled. For some of us it is the simple miracle of birth. As American Religious Educator Sophia Lyon Fahs once wrote, "Each night a child is born is a holy night - a time for singing, a time for wondering, a time for worshipping."
However you understand the promise of Christmas, I invite you to embrace it this year. Set aside your differences. Make peace when and where you can. Pray for the blessings of the divine and hold your families and friends close.
I have been reminded to celebrate what we have instead of worrying about what we want. This past weekend, four different families in my congregation were touched by death. I am spending this week before Christmas preparing both holiday services and funerals. Each of these services reminds me to approach Christmas with reverence and to celebrate the blessings of the people in my life.
This seems to be a year when the world needs Christmas and all of its blessings. May yours be filled with the warmth and laughter that comes from recognizing the real gifts in your life.
Rev. Brian Kiely
Unitarian Church of Edmonton
President, International Council of Unitarians and Universalists