December is here. As a practicing Christian, this season is special to me because of Advent and the upcoming Christmas holiday. Advent, the beginning of the Christian liturgical year, is when we wait with joyful anticipation for the birth of the Christ child. On Christmas day, we celebrate that birth as well as the incarnation—God’s becoming human as Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God sent to Earth.
We witness manger scenes, and nativity plays with children clad in bathrobes during these weeks of waiting for Christmas. We sing songs like “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” We light candles during our worship services that helps us recount the story of Jesus’ birth—what it means in our lives and the life of the world. This is also a season of reflection for me and many others.
As the natural world becomes barren, the energy of the tree returning to the soil until spring, we also turn inward. It might seem difficult given the frenzy of the secular season, but Advent is a time for Christians to consider their hearts and how they might prepare for the coming of Christ in ways that allow compassion and justice to blossom. Those of other faith traditions also look inside themselves to be reconnected to hope, love, and religious identity.
There are at least a dozen religious holidays during the month of December (such as Rohatsu or Bodhi Day in Buddhist tradition and Hanukkah within Judaism). These holy days often share in emphasizing times of introspection—becoming quiet like the natural world during winter. Through this quiet, we often find the Holy and are reminded of why we are here on this planet.
In recognition of the sacred stillness of this season, we will not be having meetings or events during the month of December. It is our wish, and my prayer, that you find the Divine in quiet moments and feel God’s love surround you and yours during the days and weeks to come. We hope the meditations listed on this page will serve to help you find God in the quiet. Additionally, we hope that these resources from our Guide to Creation Care will be helpful in sustainably celebrating with your loved ones.
We are immensely grateful for your presence in our community. And we hope that like the trees in winter, you will find time to be nourished by stillness this month.
May there be Peace,
Sarah Ogletree, Director