This Unitarian Universalist holiday, begun in 2005, is seven days long and begins on the first Monday in December. Each day represents a different Unitarian Universalist Principle.
A chalice is lit each day; and actions, gifts, or volunteering that expresses the day's Principle may be given and received. One can have seven different chalices or one common chalice.
One candle or seven candles can be lit for Chalica.
The days and Principles are:
Monday: We light our chalice for the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
Tuesday: We light our chalice for justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.
Wednesday: We light our chalice for acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth.
Thursday: We light our chalice for a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
Friday: We light our chalice for the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process in society at large.
Saturday: We light our chalice for the goal of world peace, liberty, and justice for all.
Sunday: We light our chalice for respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Although the holiday is supposed to run from the first Monday in December until the following Sunday, realistically I had enough on the holiday schedule without adding more. It simply was not humanly possible to add more without it cluttering time and taking away from each of the special activities we do and memories we are trying to create.
So, as with the other holidays that we celebrate during December, I adapted Chalica to fit our schedule. During December, we will focus only on the first Principle and do four activities related to it:
=> Today: Send a letter and pictures that Sophia and Olivia colored to environmental activist Tim DeChristopher who is serving a two-year sentence for nonviolent civil disobedience. He served one year in prison and now is living in a half-way house until his sentence is complete.
Olivia coloring a picture for Tim.
Tim disrupted a government auction of public lands in Utah in 2001. As a result, thousands of acres of land adjacent to a national park are still preserved rather than being mined or drilled by gas and oil companies.
Sophia coloring a picture for Tim.
Sophia's finished picture and message to Tim.
We talked about how his actions positively impacted the environment, animals, and people both in the short- and long-term.
Olivia's finished picture.
We are all inspired by what he did, and the difference he has made.
The girls' pictures and my thank you note to Tim.
More information about Tim can be read on the Unitarian Universalist Association's website or Peaceful Uprising's website.
=> Second week of December: Visit a person from church who is recovering from being hospitalized and/or someone who is in a nursing home who would welcome a visit. Sophia will bring her harp and play a few pieces during the visit if the person would like to hear harp music.
Sophia playing the harp for her grandmother in April 2012.
My Mom/Sophia's grandmother was on a short home-visit from the nursing home
when she was recovering from a broken ankle.
=> Third and Fourth Weeks of December: Make and donate two sensory/activity lap quilts to a nursing home where my Dad was a resident from October 3, 2011-January 5, 2012. The quilts will be designed to be used by seniors who have Alzheimer's Disease (like my father had) who need to keep their fingers occupied to help reduce stress and anxiety.
This is the sensory and photo quilt that I made for my Dad
shortly after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.
It provided comfort to him and gave his hands something to touch
(there are many different textures and types of fabric used).
We will work on the remaining six Principles from January-June. In this way, we will be able to put some thought and time into Chalica; dive a bit deeper into each of the Principles; and put faith into action.
By beginning Chalica on December 3rd, we will be doing a variety of activities that will make our holiday much more meaningful and memorable this year.
Another thing that the girls did today was choose an ornament that they want to embroider during December. They can either keep the ornament for themselves or give it as a gift on Christmas.
I will print out the patterns and cut the pieces from wool felt for them. Then they will begin to do their embroidering and finish their ornaments by Christmas.
Last, I read three Christmas books to Olivia (Sophia had read these books already and was reading another in her room):
=> Disney's Beauty and the Beast - The Enchanted Christmas
=> The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
=> Trouble with Trolls by Jan Brett