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Soul Matters @ OUUC

December 2015

In This Issue

  • Emily's Reflections
  • Invitation to Reflection
  • Sara's Reflections
  • Invitation to Practice
  • Upcoming Worship
ouuc chalice

Upcoming Worship


November 29, 2015

“Anticipating Grace”

The Rev. Emily Melcher, Interim Minister


On this, the first Sunday of Advent, when Christians begin to anticipate the coming of Jesus, and earth-centered traditions begin to anticipate the turning of the earth toward light, we bridge our November theme (Grace) and our December theme (Anticipation) by considering what it might mean to anticipate grace in our lives.



December 6, 2015

“Anticipating the Unexpected”

The Rev. Emily Melcher, Interim Minister


Are you the sort of person who plans and prepares for the future, and sees all the possibilities – both good and bad? Could the Boy Scouts’ marching song (“Be Prepared! Be Prepared!) be yours as well, or are you the sort of person who prefers to go with the flow? This morning, we’ll take a look at the spiritual dimensions of anticipating the unexpected. We’ll also welcome new members into our congregation.



December 13, 2015

“Anticipating Light”

The Rev. Emily Melcher, Interim Minister

Sara Lewis, Director of Religious Education, Troy Fisher, Music Director


NOTE: All ages worship together today!


In the darkest season of the year, we anticipate the return of light.



December 20, 2015

“Anticipating Love”

The Rev. Emily Melcher, Interim Minister


In the midst of holiday preparations, we pause in wonder to welcome the greatest gift of all: Love.



Intergenerational Christmas Eve Service

December 24, 5:00 pm

The Reverend Emily Melcher and Director of Religious Education, Sara Lewis


Please join us for an intergenerational service of carol singing and a participatory retelling of the Christmas story, led by the Reverend Emily Melcher and Director of Religious Education, Sara Lewis. Please bring a small plate of your favorite Christmas treats to share after the service.



Christmas Eve Service of Lessons and Carols

December 24, 11:00 pm

The Reverends Emily Melcher and Carol McKinley


Join us at 11:00 pm for a festive traditional service.  We’ll sing and hear the familiar music and the age-old story of Christmas, share a special communion, and close with the singing of “Silent Night” by candlelight, emerging from the sanctuary after midnight, when Christmas has arrived.



December 27, 2015


December's Theme: Anticipation

Anticipate Wonder!


Do you tend to be future-oriented, with your thoughts and your energy always moving toward something on the horizon? Or do you settle in easily to the present, living fully in the moment, savoring what is without needing it to remain the same? Or perhaps you linger in fond memories, cherishing the way things used to be? Most of us seem to have a natural tendency toward one of these ways of being, though we may find that it shifts at different periods in our lives. It seems to me that winter is a time when memory and anticipation come together for many of us, if we are able to slow down and be present.

Perhaps in the holiday season anticipation grows not so much from things imagined as from experiences engrained in us through years of repetition, and, for some of us at least, through rituals we have participated in year after year.

In a way, we know what to expect, don’t we? The earth will continue to revolve around the sun, and in less than a month, the shortest day of the year will be behind us, and it will feel as if the light is returning. Between now and then, many of us will engage in familiar rituals: baking seasonal treats, cooking special dishes, making or buying gifts, decorating our homes, and planning time with family or friends. Others will find themselves in the familiar territory of loneliness, which can feel especially acute when it seems as if others are happily embedded in joyful traditions.

Knowing what to expect may thus be a source of comfort or a source of sadness; for many of us, it is both.

What if we entered into this holiday season anticipating something beyond what we’ve come to expect? What if we entered into this darkest time of the year with our hearts and minds open to wonder, to a sense that the familiar (whether comforting and joyful or sad and lonely) might not actually inevitably define the present or the future?

I call this stance toward life “wonderability.” While it needn’t stop us from planning ahead, doing the things we’ve grown accustomed to doing, or anticipating the gifts and challenges of the season, the ability to wonder might just bring to our planning, doing and anticipation an openness that will allow us to experience the light returning as if for the first time or to be filled with awe at the notion of hope and love born in our midst.

May you anticipate wonder this season!

Invitation to Reflection:

Do you tend to be future-oriented, with your thoughts and your energy always moving toward something on the horizon? Or do you settle in easily to the present, living fully in the moment, savoring what is without needing it to remain the same? Or perhaps you linger in fond memories, cherishing the way things used to be?

What are you anticipating this season? What past experiences influence your expectations? How might you cultivate “wonderability” in your life this season?

Emily Melcher, Interim Minister

What Are You Waiting For?


Some things are hard to wait for (opening your presents, the birth of a baby, the return of a dearly missed loved one), while other things are easy to push out of our mind and pretend they just aren’t going to happen (that big test you’ll have to take, needing to pay for college for the kids, becoming older, the “Big One” earthquake). We long for some things, and dread other things, but what about Today? What can we do Today to make the waiting easier and to prepare for the other stuff so that it isn’t quite so bad when it happens, either?

I like to be prepared. I’m one of those people who carries around a lot of stuff with me (in my purse, in my car, in my home) so that I’ll be prepared for what happens to me, and so I’ll be prepared to help others with what happens to them. I’m anticipating needs, wants, and desires and trying to meet them now.

That can be a lot of work, but then there come the days when I have to thank my past self for the forethought that is holding my present self in love and care. When I am sick and I am so glad that my past-self very thoughtfully stocked the pantry with canned soup and ginger ale for me, or when I twist my ankle and I am so glad that my past-self put a fully stocked 1st aid kit in the back of the car.

Tomorrow will come, surely enough, so what are you waiting for? You can’t rush time, or stop it, but you can use today wisely.  

Invitation to Practice:

What can you do today to care for your future or the future of your loved ones? If you haven’t done it, why haven’t you? What are you waiting for? Take some time today to love yourself through planning and preparation. Maybe you need to:

  • Make a will
  • Make a 5 year plan
  • Check the batteries in your flashlights, or otherwise get ready for winter power outages
  • Start saving now for …. (college, retirement, a down payment)
  • Get a 1st aid kit
  • Put together your earthquake kit
  • Buy some soup for the next time you’re sick, or make some soup and put it in the freezer
  • Talk to a loved one about the future and make plans together

Sara Lewis, Director of Lifespan Religious Education

Engage with the theme of the month in any or all of these ways:

  • Come to Sunday worship, and after engage with the interactive theme display in the Commons during coffee hour
  • Children and Youth Religious Education programs will be organized around the theme of the month as well
  • Join Circles of the Spirit for small group ministry around the theme of the month.
  • Join the closed Facebook group: Soul Matters @ OUUC
  • Email your reflections, ideas, music suggestions, art responses, photos, etc. to for possible sharing on digital platforms or in worship

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Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation
2315 Division St NW
Olympia, Washington 98502

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