As the new year starts, I’m hearing what I call PHD: Pandemic Holiday Disenchantment syndrome. Unable to celebrate the winter holidays in “time honored ways,” disappointment and grief drive us to dismiss the importance of January 1st and new year resolutions. Why should we pause [from Netflix, MSNBC, FaceBook, video games, or worrying] and reflect on what’s important for a new cycle and what we’re called and willing to do?

Holiday customs are not set in stone. They are cultural constructs the human family created to help us live from the cycles of nature and the circadian rhythms wired into our brains, bodies and being. We let them run our holiday practices – like the old wizard behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz.

The bad news is that the pandemic is still with us.

The good news is that we’re in a cultural “magic moment.”

The magic is two-fold:

1. Drawing back the curtain: Covid showed us we don’t have to do holidays (or congregational life) in the same ways. Tradition evolves to meet changing needs – our changing needs – in the moment, in this moment .

2. Billions of humans are pausing as the year turns, to consider: What was the meaning of 2020? What were the lessons? What do I choose for 2021? And, most powerfully, what do we choose, together?

When I feel the sorrow of not having been able to hug my grandchildren this season, I feel it amplified by families around the globe. Amplified into compassion, connection, communion with the human family.

How may we live through this pandemic with greater compassion for one another and for the environment? How may we live through the crises of democracy and demagoguery as citizens, finding political will to dethrone those manipulating the system and to promote the common good?

This is a powerful and empowering moment, to pause;

— to come into our hearts with all our losses, as billions are pausing with us

— to consider who we are to one another, and who we might and must become: We, the People – The kind people, the people who vote and protect access to voting for all, the people who hold each other accountable to live by our shared values that make democracy and the rule of law possible; people committed to learning and growing, together!

May we find ourselves supported by this wave of humanity, with open hearts and minds, imagining then building a future that will support us all, together!

Rev. Mary