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VOTE on Saturday, December 6. In Louisiana, there is frequently a run-off election in gumbo season and this year,

the nation is watching our state.

 In December, it is as if our church were an actual hearth. A continual blazing log warms the entire month of December.  Our church is abundantly full of festive activities –just look at that page 1. We are busy not for the sake of busyness but to be welcoming, open, inviting, giving, evocative, maybe inspirational and transformative.  Something like a hearth is here. We hope to see you at church.

 An Open Letter at Christmastime:  To families whose child is just now old enough to absorb the awesome wonder of the season, pay attention to your own re-awakened self –your joy, your insight, your aliveness.  It is a gift that no Santa could bring.  To singles whose families or friends are distant or unavailable to share your good company, make your church a base camp for fellowship and connection.  Linger awhile for conversation with others here at church. A friendship may begin in December 2014.  Stranger things have happened.  To those who resist saying aloud, "Christmas will never be the same without our loved one around," say it.  We honor our loved ones when we name and count them among our meaningful losses.  Light a candle for a loved one.  And light a second candle representing the resiliency of your own life and its unfolding nature.  Finally, to you who have everything you need and want everything you have because you have pondered and relished the exquisite questions of the human predicament, may you treasure the experience of living life as your most treasured gift.

 Maya Angelouis remembered especially in the year of her death.  She wrote, "I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver." Thanks, on behalf of the entire congregation, for keeping your promises, honoring your pledges, for giving extra, especially when it wasn't requested, and for being good examples of a faithful people practicing the values of a Unitarian Universalist in the larger world.

 Charles Dickens, Unitarian,said, "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."  

That's what everybody says. OK, but if such a sentiment had no meaning, it would drift away into disuse.  The sentiment and aspiration are real. Thank you, Charles, and all of us who struggle to be giving, forgiving, generous, kind, and more human.  "God bless us all, everyone."