The Holly and the Ivy – Season’s Greetings / December Nugget from the Board

The Holly and the Ivy – Season’s Greetings


Hymn to Dawn

Indian Rig Veda


Creating order afresh each day, bringing gifts to us,

inviting us to know the gods, this is dawn:


most beautiful of goddesses, shining endlessly,

moving in the order of her internal law.


She has painted the roof of the sky red

and has drawn back the black night curtain.


She has wakened us with her roan horses,

dawn coming up with her bright chariot.


Patricia Monaghan in The Goddess Companion writes:


It has arrived, the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice.  Deep in a cave in Ireland, the sun reaches her rays along a rock corridor and illuminates a spiral carving.  In France, light travels along the multiple lines of boulders that stand like petrified soldiers at Carnac.  In southwestern America, a shaft of light cuts across a rock carving like a cosmic arrow.  Across the world, our ancestors felt the need to mark this day as special.  They built huge cairns of stone, cut into hard granite, built intricate monuments.  What was the deep wisdom they knew, which caused them to create such rich and eloquent shrines?

The sun is now holding its place in the sky.  Daylight is neither diminishing nor growing.  Things are at a standstill, as though the world were poised for the change that is coming.  For the ancients, this was a tremendously sacred time.  The planet continues its annual rotation, day continues to follow night.  But something deep is occurring to our planet.  It has reached a significant pivot point in the annual cycle.  Opposite to its parallel summer location, the earth now holds still.

The soul holds still like this, just before great change occurs.  It is a silence so profound that it seems as though time has stopped.  In this magical moment, we have the chance to set in motion great changes, great happenings.  This is the moment when the seeds of new life, new growth, must be planted.

The holly and the ivy,

now both are quite full-grown.

Of all the trees out in the wood,

the holly bears the crown.


The rising of the sun

and the running of the deer,

and the playing of sweet music 

at the turning of the year.


Happy Yule, everyone!


December Nugget from the Board


 gold chalice logo

I have been thinking about why I joined the Board of Management since I was asked to write this nugget several weeks ago.  There are several layers to my answer.  I joined to pay back to the church and community, but why did I join the church and community in the first place?  In short, I joined the Board of Management because I believe in the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism and in the missions of the UUCW in particular.

To believe in the worth and dignity of each human being is, in my mind, central to building a better world.  It lies at the heart of compassion and kindness.  To believe in the freedom of religious expression and in the toleration of religious ideas is what it means to suspend judgment of others and their way of life, a necessity for building a unity of experience.  To believe in the never-ending search for Truth and in the authority of reason and conscience are fundamental to my identity as a researcher and scholar.  Finally, it is applying these other six principles that we find the inner grace to give to those who are less fortunate or in need of assistance.

Our church supports not only these principles, but is committed to its own unique mission(s) as well.  The UUCW has two primary goals.  These include a unique and in-depth religious exploration for our youth and a commitment to assist the community.  I cannot think of anything more important for a church to do.  The success of our Religious Exploration program is evidenced in the heart and soul of the children of this church.  Never before have I known a collective of children as kind-hearted and committed to social justice as the youth of our church.  What a fantastic opportunity to support that education by supporting our church.  Likewise, the chance to participate in assisting the community opens us to our shared humanity.  Joining the Board of Management offers a chance to support what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist.