Heart and Mind – Dr. Lou Yock – December 2020

We like to look forward to things. We need things to look forward to. In the darkest days of the
year, the winter festivals of the solstice are about turning the corner, renewal, and the
anticipation of longer, better, days. With the return of lengthening light, we are assured that our
hopes are confirmed for growth and the bounty of summer. The later Romans
anthropomorphized this with the solstice celebration of Sol Invictus, the Unconquered Sun. My
solstice lights highlight the central emphasis of the sun’s rebirth with the display in my front
window (for those who know to look for it…and know me).
In past years, I’ve encouraged people to settle into the winter, soak up the quiet and slowness
and darkness—to let that be a source of comfort and a foundation of renewal. Of course this is
but one way to approach the cold and dark of winter.
This year I offer for consideration emphasizing the anticipatory nature of the season and its
celebrations. I am going to think about, and concentrate on, the rebirth and better times ahead.
It’s been a difficult year with the pandemic, and I want to encourage myself to stay positive as
the cases spike and the isolation continues, and maybe even intensifies. To help get through
this period, I encourage you to consider ways to stay positive, and connected as much as
possible. What would help you to reinforce and back-up your positive feelings?

We will be doing more with zoom at the church. I invite people to attend their zoom committee
meetings, take part in the salons, coffee and conversation, the church services, and whatever
else may be offered. A little contact, a friendly face, an interesting conversation, will help to get
us through this. If you would like to participate with zoom, but are having difficulties, please let
me know. The Church has people and means to help.
Another thing I suggest is to perhaps celebrate the anticipatory nature of the season in the
custom that gives you comfort and joy. Remember, emphasize and embrace, that the darkness
will pass. We will again be meeting with one another, and the summer will once again come. If
it helps, research and explore the customs of other cultures or times, and maybe try one out. If
you don’t already, consider putting up a Christmas Tree or Solstice Shrub, decorate, prepare the
special foods, write the cards, hang out the holly and the ivy, make a Diwali mandala, burn a
Yule log. It will help to keep busy. All over the world, customs grow out of winter solstice
anticipation, the assurance of change, and the celebration of life and its cycles. Even when
things seem gloomy and dead, in reality, everything is only resting. Our ancestors kept these hopes alive and expressed them through their solstice celebrations.  Let us follow in their wisdom and remember to do the same.

Dr. Lou Yock

Dr. Louis Yock, is the minister of People's Church Unitarian Universalists and in this role, is responsible for delivering a portion of Sunday services, pastoral care, conferring with all committees and providing spiritual leadership for the congregation.