Exploring the Themes of Our Lives - Exploration des thématiques
Welcome back to theme-based ministry at the Unitarian Church of Montreal. 2017-18 will be our fourth year exploring monthly themes as we consider what it means to live our Unitarian Universalist values. We hope this year’s themes will prove to be both inspiring and challenging:
September / septembre Letting Go / Lâcher prise
October / octobre Connection/La connexion
November / novembre Humility / L’humilité
December / décembre Expectations / Les attentes
January / janvier Growth / La croissance
February / février Interdependence / L’interdépendance-Canada wide
March / mars Creativity / La créativité
April / avril Curiosity / La curiosité
May / mai Blessing / Le bienfait
June / juin Simplicity / La simplicité
December/decembre 2017 - Expectations/Les attentes
Many years ago, during a winter workshop on “Unplugging the Holiday Machine,” I asked the participants to take some reflective time to draw a picture or write about a favourite holiday memory. One young man took a dark piece of paper and drew the most wonderful winter landscape at night. He told us that his memory had transported him back to a cabin in the woods on a holiday night overlooking a frozen lake.
Peace descended over the room. Everyone seemed to sigh with longing. “That’s the holiday tradition we need. A winter cabin and a quiet night.”
What expectations do you have for this holiday season? When my mother-in-law was alive, there was never any question where the family would gather for the holidays. Christmas was a sacred holiday for her, one that she expected to spend surrounded by her children and grandchildren. We always laughed that both her son and daughter married Jews so there would never be a battle over where everyone would be on Christmas Day.
This year, Christmas will be different for us. We’re about to experience, for the first time, the challenges that many families do. David and I are new grandparents and there’s a whole new Christmas-celebrating other side of the family to consider. I mean, seriously, who gets to see the baby when? Our expectations will definitely need to change. We’ll have to create new traditions. Maybe it’s time to expand our Hanukkah party?
I know that the winter holidays are not an easy time for everyone. The surrounding world can have high expectations for holiday cheer, while you may be carrying sadness and grief or feeling loneliness. If your burdens are heavy, I hope that you can find a way to lighten your load here in our community. May you feel welcome at one of our many winter holiday observances. There’s lots planned, from the quiet and contemplative to the loud and active.
If you feel you need some spiritual or emotional support during this season, please let me know. I’m here for you.
At the end of the season, I’ll be saying goodbye for a few months. I’ll be taking a three-month sabbatical and will return on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018. I’ll be travelling to several places this time, attending a ministers’ conference in Florida in January and going to Nepal in February for the gathering of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists, where David and I will do some travelling (maybe even some trekking). I’ll also be spending a couple of weeks in Europe (locations yet to be determined) in my role as ambassador to the European UUs. In between, I’ll be spending quiet, contemplative time at home.
Wishing you peace on earth and shining lights,
Rev. Diane Rollert
Download the December packet: Expectations/Les attentes
Year Four Theme Packets
Download the November packet: Humility/L'humilité
Download the October packet: Connection/La connexion
Year Three Theme Packets
Download the June packet: Tradition/La tradition
Download the May packet: Play/Le jeu
Download the April packet: Compassion/La compassion
Download the March packet: Honesty/L'honnêteté
Download the January packet: Resistance/La résistance
Download the December packet Rootedness/l'enracinement
Download the November packet Listening/L'écoute
Download the October packet Grace/La grâce (available in English only)
Download the September packet: Purpose/Les intentions
Year Two Theme Packets
Download the June packet: Perception/Les perceptions
Download the May packet: Faith/La foi
Download the April packet: Vulnerability/La vulnérabilité
Download the March packet: Discipline/La Discipline
Download the February packet: Reconciliation/La réconciliation
En français: La réconciliation
Download the January packet: Laughter/Le rire
Download the December packet: Imagination/L'Imagination
Download the October packet: Integity/L'intégrité