The symbolism of light in religions

By Jean Strahlendorf
Special to The PREVIEW

On Sunday, Dec. 21, several members of the Pagosa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will present a program that centers on the universal importance of light and the symbolism of light in several religious holidays, including winter solstice, Christmas, Hanukah and Yule.

It is recognized that world religions often utilize the analogy of light when speaking of a divine presence in human life, eternity and the depth of life. Many religions believe that the soul awakens in light and reveals the sacred depths within us. In Western tradition, and indeed in the Celtic tradition, thought has often been compared to light.  In its luminosity, the intellect was deemed to be the place of the Divine within us.

In the context of our Unitarian Universalist beliefs, a flame burning within a chalice is a fitting symbol for a religion dedicated to the proposition that man is not only intellectual and spiritual, but the intelligence and soul are often linked as one. The enormous life-giving power of light renders it a symbol of transcendence and the mother of life.

Our Unitarian heritage calls us to recognize the inherent good of all persons, while the Universalist part of our tradition encourages us to extend love and acceptance to all people. You are welcome in a Unitarian Universalist congregation, whatever your gender identity, sexual orientation, racial identity or class.

Although many Unitarian Universalists were born into their faith, many more come to it later in life. Some of these seekers left the faith tradition of their childhood, while others came from no religious tradition at all. Interfaith families have frequently found a religious home in a Unitarian Universalist congregation, where each partner’s beliefs and traditions are honored and children can learn about their parents’ faith heritages and eventually seek their own answers to religious questions.

It is the mission of the Pagosa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship to “grow as a diverse community with differing beliefs and shared values.”

This Sunday’s message will emphasize: “Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations” and “A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.”

To obtain a more comprehensive understanding of our mission and previous UU talks, and to make contact with our fellowship, please visit our website, pagosauu.org.

Our children’s religious programs teach our UU heritage, ethical living, moral precepts to love your neighbor, work for a better world and to search for truth with an open mind. The great end in religious instruction is to awaken the conscience and moral discernment, so that children may discern and approve for themselves what is everlastingly right and good.

The service begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Pagosa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall. The address is Unit B-15, Greenbriar Plaza. Turn east on Greenbriar Drive off of North Pagosa Boulevard by the fire station, then left into the back parking lot and look for the big sign. All are welcome.

This story was posted on December 18, 2014.