News December 8, 2023

Cover December 10, 2023
Dear Friends and Members,

The Decembers holidays are infused with tradition and ritual. Last night was the first night of Hanukkah, and Sunday will be the second Sunday of Advent.

I’m sure you and your family had traditions that you continue to carry on, some common to your culture and faith tradition, some perhaps unique to your individual family. My immediate family always went to my dad’s parents on Christmas Eve and my mom’s parents on Christmas Day. I still remember the odd emptiness I felt the first year I had to work waiting tables on Christmas Eve, and missed the annual tradition.

I remember the reenacting of the Christmas Story as a child. This retelling is played out in Christian churches across the world. In my small Methodist church in Kentucky as a child, little more than bathrobe costumes, aluminum foil crowns, and a box of straw were needed to convey the narrative.

We will continue our tradition at this church of retelling the Christmas Story on December 17. Our version has a unique UU spin! We will tell the tale with story and song at the 9:30 service, and at 11:30 the children and youth will act out the story.

On the morning of Christmas Eve, we will begin participating in a centuries-old Mexican and Latin American tradition: Las Posadas! At 10:30 am, we will be reenacting Mary and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem and their quest to find lodging.

Traditionally, people dressed as Mary and Joseph travel from house to house over the course of nine nights, carrying a candle and seeking lodging. Others, dressed as angels and shepherds, join them along the way. Each home provides music and food, but sends them on their way, as there ‘is no room.” The final location is often a church, rather than a home.

Our version takes place in one morning, and we will travel from room to room at the church. The travelers will be given treats and will join in song at each stop, before being sent on their way. They will then end their journey in the sanctuary for the 11:30 Spanish-language Noche Buena service.

We are excited about the wealth of programming happening in December. Please check the newsletter, Order of Service, and the calendar on our website to keep up with all the activities.

All the blessings of the season,

Rev. D. Scott Cooper
Associate Minister
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston