December’s theme is mystery and I cannot think of a better one. In the festivals of light the common theme is mystery; oil supply for Hanukkah, birth of Jesus for Christmas, return of light for pagans, and for secular revelers, all of the surprises Santa might bring. Celebrating the recurring mystery, whatever your own family’s tradition, is the best thing about December.
Mystery also brings to mind the genre of the whodunit novels, movies, and shows wherein a crime is revealed and the rest of the story is uncovering the perpetrator. Often the “crime” is something silly like who ate the last cookie or who sent the love note. Usually during the investigation intimate details get uncovered about the constellation of people circling the “criminal” and their “target.” This aspect of mystery is our focus for December: when exploring a mystery, what do we find about ourselves?
In the process of gift giving and gift receiving, often much is revealed about the giver; their tastes, their generosity, and their attention level. Each year of my life I have been surprised to witness the exchange between some unexpectedly very thoughtful giver and their “target.” The gift need not be expensive to show the recipient the truth that lies in the giver’s heart.
Belief in the miracles of return to light, the oil that lasted 8 days, or the birth of a babe in the manger bring people in droves to religious ceremonies with groups, and rituals in their homes. We want to celebrate the mysteries. Together.
We find out things about ourselves, even when studying the gift desires of another person. We discover our place in the story when learning about a tradition that revolves around events happening centuries before our own birth. We discover how faith works. (And if we have any.) We find or rediscover hope. And our belief in the importance of community is reaffirmed as well.
This December may the mysteries of the season swirl around you creating the anticipation of a great whodunnit but with no victims—only great detective work!
In peace with love, Rev. Amy