December 2022

What do you want for Christmas, or Hanukkah, or the celebration of the winter solstice? 

We still exchange individual gifts with all of my siblings. Over the years we toyed with and rejected the idea of a Yankee swap, or assigning names at random so that everyone buys and receives just one gift. Now, some of us ask for donations to organizations or causes important to us. But it’s hard to let go of giving tangible gifts. They are a way to show the love and affection we feel but often inadequately express. And of course there is a child in most of us that still delights at having something to unwrap.

This year my sister Nancy came up with a new proposal. Those who opt in will find a book they already own and cherish to pass along to the person whose name they draw at random. I’m intrigued. My brother-in-law Lee is a passionate book collector and reader. He helped me unpack the books in my office at 220 Main Street when we moved here in 2009. He told me he had never seen so many books in one place that didn’t interest him in the least. If I draw his name, I’ll have to search my shelves at home.

What do you want for Christmas, or Hanukkah, or in celebration of the winter solstice? It’s a good question to ask ourselves. I want to enjoy my family - my sons and daughter-in-law, my grandchildren, my husband and siblings and siblings-in-law, my niece and nephew. I want to slow down, to pay attention and notice, to feel some of the wonder, and to savor the blessings of our time together. I want to act with kindness and generosity and intention. I want to remember that every gift given and received is an expression of love. 

I wish for you all the holiday you need and desire. I am grateful to be your minister.Janets signature