Unitarian Universalist Church of Olinda
news of our historic UU church in Ruthven (Kingsville), Ontario

From the Hill Parson for December

December 7th, 2008 . by bonnie

An old Reader’s Digest classic for you holidays:   

     “Under a cultural-exchange program, Alan Abramsky and his family in Roanoke, Texas, were hosts to a rabbi from Russia at Christmas time. They decided to introduce him to a culinary treat that was probably not available in his country: They took him to their favorite Chinese restaurant.  Throughout the meal, the rabbi spoke excitedly about the wonders of North America in comparison to the bleak conditions in his homeland. When they had finished eating, the waiter brought the check and presented each of them with a small brass Christmas-tree ornament as a seasonal gift.

      They all laughed when Abramsky’s father pointed out that the ornaments were stamped “Made in India.” But the laughter subsided when they saw that the rabbi was quietly crying. Concerned, Abramsky’s father asked the rabbi if he was offended because he’d been given a gift for a Christian holiday. He smiled, shook his head and said, “Nyet. I was shedding tears of joy to be in a wonderful country in which a Buddhist gives a Jew a 

Christmas gift made by a Hindu!”

For most of us our attentions will be drawn to the Christmas part of December’s holiday season.  If not by choice, at any rate by the music playing in most any store or elevator we enter!  Others of us will focus more on the Winter Solstice and the turning of the season to official winter – though unofficially it’s clearly here.  The Earth will have tilted to it’s full 23 degrees so that on the day of the Solstice we will experience the shortest number of hours of daylight.  It is a day that calls our attention to the power of the universe and the earth that is our particular neighbourhood.  The Reader’s Digest story, a magazine I was practically weaned from the bottle to! Is a lovely and poignant expression of the increasing smallness of our earth’s neighbourhood.  Indeed, a “Buddhist gives a Jew a Christmas gift made by a Hindu”.  May we remember all these interdependent seasons and meanings, peoples and each of their own holidays, if not at this time of year, as each of us celebrates as we are accustomed.  There are tears of joy in such truth.

See you soon AND next year!  In faith and all the blessings of the season, 

Rev. Christine


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