December 2019 WATERritual

Winter Solstice Lessons and Carols

By Diann L. Neu and Techika Rhodes

Listen to the audio of our December 2019 WATERritual here.

This is the solstice, the still point of the sun, its cusp and midnight, the year’s threshold and unlocking, where the past lets go of and becomes the future; the place of caught breath, the door of a vanished house left ajar. –Margaret Atwood

Preparation: Set your ritual space with three candles to light the Winter Solstice festivals.

Call to Gather: Welcome to this Winter Solstice Lessons and Carols. This is the season of Winter Solstice festivals. Tonight, we will focus on three of them: Advent, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.

Naming the Circle: Let us create community by sharing our names and sharing what comes to mind when we hear “Winter Solstice.”

Centering Music: New Age Music: Holiday Music; New Age Piano: Musica New Age: Sing Me of Winter; Lisa Swerlow  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reM1wCv5B40

Lighting Winter Solstice Candles: Every generation honors the darkness and calls the light of the night into being. We light three candles to welcome compassion and justice into our world: one for Advent, one for Hanukkah, and one for Kwanzaa.

Advent

Advent Song: Silent Night, Music by Franz X. Gruber.

Silent night, holy night, All’s not calm. All’s not bright.
Round the world there is weeping and fright.
Hunger and wars will claim victims tonight.
Where is heavenly peace? Where is heavenly peace?

Silent night, holy night, All’s not calm. All’s not right.
Homeless are left in the streets every night.
Left in the cold so they’ll be out of sight.
Where is heavenly peace? Where is heavenly peace?

Silent night, holy night, How to share calm? How to share light?
One among many and not being first
Each with beauty enriching the Earth,
This brings heavenly peace. This brings heavenly peace.

Advent Lesson: Luke Chapter 1:39-56

Within a few days Mary set out and hurried to the hill country to a town of Judah, where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why am I so favored, that the mother of the Messiah should come to me? The moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who believed that what Our God said to her would be accomplished!”

Mary said: “My soul proclaims your greatness, O God, and my spirit rejoices in you, my Savior. For you have looked with favor upon your lowly servant, and from this day forward all generations will call me blessed. For you, the Almighty, have done great things for me, and holy is your Name. Your mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear you. You have shown strength with your arm, you have scattered the proud in their conceit, you have deposed the mighty from their thrones and raised the lowly to high places.

You have filled the hungry with good things, while you have sent the rich away empty. You have come to the aid of Israel your servant, mindful of your mercy-the promise you made to our ancestors-to Sarah and Abraham and their descendants forever.”

Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then returned home.

Advent Reflection:  Now let us take a few moments to reflect in quietness upon this question: In what ways have you allowed the stillness of the night to become a sacred space for you?

 

Hanukkah

 

Hanukkah Song: Light One Candle by Peter, Paul, and Mary

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1cRXgDFiSs

Verse:

Light one candle for the Maccabee children
With thanks their light didn’t die;
Light one candle for the pain they endured
When their right to exist was denied;
Light one candle for the terrible sacrifice
Justice and freedom demand;
And light one candle for the wisdom to know
When the peacemaker’s time is at hand!

Chorus:
Don’t let the light go out,
It’s lasted for so many years!
Don’t let the light go out!
Let it shine through our love and our tears! (Repeat)

Verse:
Light one candle for the strength that we need
To never become our own foe;
And Light one candle for those who are suff’ring
A pain they learned so long ago;
Light one candle for all we believe in,
That anger not tear us apart;
And light one candle to bind us together
With peace as the song in our heart!

Chorus:
Don’t let the light go out!
It’s lasted for so many years!
Don’t let the light go out!
Let it shine through our love and our tears. (Repeat)

Verse:
And what is the memory that’s valued so highly
That we keep it alive in that flame?
What’s the commitment to those who have died?
We cry out “they’ve not died in vain,”
We have come this far, always believing
That justice will somehow prevail;
This is the burden, This is the promise,
And this is why we will not fail

Chorus:
Don’t let the light go out!
It’s lasted for so many years!
Don’t let the light go out!
Let it shine through our love and our tears. (Repeat)

Don’t let the light go out!
Don’t let the light go out!
Don’t let the light go out!

Hanukkah Litany of Dedication

Let us recall the enlightenment gained through the lives of dedicated women.

Blessed is Ruth who dedicated herself to the God of Naomi, her mother-in-law.

Response: Dedicated be her life.

Blessed is Deborah whose dedication to God brought her to leadership as judge among her people.

Response: Dedicated be her life.

Blessed is the woman who relishes her own company.

Response: Dedicated be her life.

Blessed are… who else do we name? Tell us and we will respond.

Response: Dedicated be their lives.

Hanukkah Reflection: Take a moment to think about the ways in which you can let your light shine?

 

Kwanzaa

 

Kwanzaa Song: “Come and Go with Me to that Land,” traditional – Solo

Kwanzaa Song: “Come and Go with Me to that Land,” traditional – Solo

Verse: Come and go with me to that land, come and go with me to that land.
Come and go with me to that land where I’m bound. (Repeat)

Umoja in that land, Kuujichagalia in that land.
Ujima in that land where I’m bound. (Repeat)

Ujamaa in that land, Nia in that land.
Kuumba and Imani in that land where I’m bound. (Repeat) 

Kwanzaa Lesson: The seven principles of Kwanzaa are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Now let us hear the words of great women of wisdom: Marian Anderson and Audre Lorde.

Nia, Purpose

“If you have a purpose in which you can believe, there’s no end to the amount of things you can accomplish.” – Marian Anderson

Kuujichagalia, Self Determination

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” – Audre Lorde

 

Kwanzaa Reflection: What word stood out to you while listening to the Kwanzaa principles?

Song: Come and go with me to that land, come and go with me to that land.

Come and go with me to that land where I’m bound. (Repeat)

Take Action

Participate in a Festival of Light tradition outside of your own.

Share the wisdom of the Winter Solstice with a child or members of your family.

Donate to a women’s shelter in your area or give to a charity of your choice.

 

Sending Forth: Let us bring closure to our time together. Close your eyes in the stillness and feel the all-encompassing power of the darkness within and around you. Call forth the light from within you, allow the manifestation of creativity and healing powers to exude from your being.

Filled with the power of this season,

Let us continue being steadfast in the face of oppression.

Let us treasure our time together as we stand in solidarity.

Let us call forth feminist religious voices around the world.

© WATER, Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual, dneu@hers.com