December has always felt like a lot of month to me -- there are a bunch of holidays, and when I was growing up, it seemed like my mom always had Christmas music. We decorated the house big time with all sorts of decorations. There were all kinds of events to participate in and experience, and my grandmother always took my sister and me to see The Nutcracker downtown.
We have a number of family birthdays in December, too, and also death-versaries now. As the natural light reaches its lowest amount of time in a day toward the end of the month, many people struggle not only with the unpredictable emotional roller coaster of the month's activities as well as seasonal depressive disorder and other behavioral health matters. All in the context of this ongoing pandemic.
The spiritual theme we will be reflecting on through December is "Opening to Joy." The mental image I have is of opening a gift of some kind, pulling away the layers of decoration to discover the gift at the center. It took years for me to understand the packaging itself is a gift and should be appreciated.
There will be some changes in some more areas in congregational life this month, hopefully those that will make our being together go more smoothly and more meaningfully. May these changes help us have better experiences in communication and worship and maybe elsewhere in congregational life. Know that we will continue to keep working on things as we need to -- seeking to find as much joy to support and carry us through the days as we grapple with all that it means to be human.
If you'd like to reach out: You can reach me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call me at 330-968-8692 or 727-279-5992 for local calls.
In faith and service, Rev. Kristina Spaude
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