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President's Letter 12/2003


Dear American Unitarian:


The two great Christian holidays, Christmas and Easter are both celebrations of new beginnings. Although as a matter of theology one might think Easter should outshine Christmas as a time of joy and fellowship and celebration, in practice most of us find that Christmas brightens our spirit more. That is probably because of the suffering and cruelty that is part of the Easter narrative, whereas Christmas is a simple, whole-hearted celebration of good news. This time of year, we add to Christmas the secular celebration of New Years Day, which prompts us to reflect on the past year and to resolve to do differently (usually) or more of the same in the coming year. This reflection, if undertaken with a religious spirit, can prove to be highly constructive.

 We Americans have much to be thankful for as we reflect on our lives. On the other hand, there is much about the world around us and in our lives that we can resolve to improve. We are at war. Our fellow citizens are dying in a distant land nearly every day. We can pray for a new beginning. We can hope and work for peace and goodwill and justice on earth.

 Most of us, however, are only in a position to help make new beginnings closer to home. Let us each resolve to make the world a better place, to make the age-old Unitarian faith in human progress a reality. Progress does not come easily, and it comes one step at a time. We can all make a difference and help to make today the beginning of a better future. We can help build our faith, and our faith can provide the spiritual sustenance and give us the energy and the drive to help those in our communities who suffer, to assist children in need, to discover new technologies that will improve people’s lives, to build better institutions, to enrich the lives of our community and to do the panoply of other things that will contribute to improving our common destiny. In this way, we can help fulfill Jesus’s two great commandments—love God and love others.

May God’s love be with you always, and may your Christmas and New Year’s holidays be bright.


Yours in faith, freedom, and reason,

David R. Burton


American Unitarian Conference

© 2003 American Unitarian Conference