ACPE's weekly digest to keep you connected, better informed, and well-resourced for the week ahead.
December 18, 2017
Trace Informal
ACPE's Monday Briefing is a weekly digest from ACPE Executive Director Trace Haythorn
Each week you will receive related articles and updates regarding ACPE. Also included are helpful links to keep you connected, better informed, and well-resourced for the week ahead.
Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish colleagues!
Holiday Updates
This will be the last Monday Briefing of 2017! We will be back to a regular schedule on Monday, January 8, 2018. In the meantime, may you and yours have a lovely holiday however you celebrate and for whatever reason. As a reminder, the ACPE National Office will be closed beginning Friday, December 20th at 5:00PM to 9:00AM on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018. 
December 2017 Edition of the Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling is Available
For more information, click here.
Accreditation Update: Annual Reports
Did you see last week's "News You Can Use"? If not, click here for important information about annual reports along with some important information about Certification as well.
A Poem for Reflection
Last minute gift idea: check out Mary Oliver's Devotions, a collection of what I think are some of her most moving and deeply spiritual poems. In that spirit, I offer the following to ease us out of what has been very long 2017:
 "White-Eyes" by Mary Oliver

In winter
all the singing is in
the tops of the trees
where the wind-bird

with its white eyes
shoves and pushes
among the branches.
Like any of us

he wants to go to sleep,
but he's restless-
he has an idea,
and slowly it unfolds

from under his beating wings
as long as he stays awake.
But his big, round music, after all,
is too breathy to last.

So, it's over.
In the pine-crown
he makes his nest,
he's done all he can.

I don't know the name of this bird,
I only imagine his glittering beak
tucked in a white wing
while the clouds-

which he has summoned
from the north-
which he has taught
to be mild, and silent-

thicken, and begin to fall
into the world below
like stars, or the feathers
of some unimaginable bird

that loves us,
that is asleep now, and silent-
that has turned itself
into snow.
Something Extra
As many of you travel with or to family or receive them in your homes this time of year, I trust the question of what and who we are connected to will be front and center. For a different poetry experience that explores that question, click here.
This Week in our Thoughts
This week we heard news about the following members and friends. Visit the ACPE Memorials and Milestones website for more details. Please email to Tiffany Kindred to add someone to the webpage.
  • No news reported this week.
This Week on the Calendar
Thursday, December 21 Winter solstice
* Winter Feast - Native American spirituality
A time when Native Americans of the Woodland tribes share food with the spirits of winter.

* Yaldā - Zoroastrianism
The "night of birth" which marks the longest night of the year, after which days begin getting longer-thus symbolizing the victory of light and goodness over dark and evil. This festival is celebrated with storytelling, poetic readings, family reunions, and feasting.

* Yule - Wicca
A celebration symbolizing the rebirth of the sun by the Goddess. A present-day Wicca event that ritually marks the shedding of the dross of the past year and contemplating one's future spiritual development.

* Tohji-Taisai [Grand Ceremony of the Winter Solstice] - Shintō
This day marks the end of the sun's decline (the yin period) and the beginning of its growth (the yang period). In Japanese spirituality, the sun is expressive of Amaterasu Omikami, the sun goddess and guiding spirit of the Japanese people.

Saturday, December 23
* Birthday of the Prophet Joseph Smith - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Commemorating the birth of Joseph Smith, Jr., in 1805 C.E. in Vermont. He translated what became known as the Book of Mormon and became the first president of the LDS Church when it was founded in 1830 in Fayette, New York.

Sunday, December 24
* Fourth Sunday of Advent (love) - Christianity (Western churches)

* Christmas Eve - Christianity (Western and Eastern churches)
Celebration of the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus. It is observed with worship, carols, candle lighting, manger scenes and festive meals.

Monday, December 25
* Christmas Day/Feast of the Nativity - Christianity (Western and Eastern churches)
Celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, observed by prayers, exchanging of gifts, and family parties.

Tuesday, December 26
* St. Stephen's Day - Christianity
Remembrance of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

* Kwanzaa begins (through January 1) - African American heritage
A seven-day festival that celebrates values highly regarded by people of African American ancestry. The values include umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith). Each of these principles, collectively known as the Nguzo Saba, is represented by a red or green candle, each of which is lit on successive days using a central black candle.

Tuesday, December 26
* Zaratosht Diso [Anniversary of the death of the prophet Zarathustra (Zoroaster)] - Zoroastrianism
Estimates of when he lived vary from the sixth to the second millenium B.C.E., but this date memorializes the death of the prophet Zoroaster, whose hymns (gathas) are preserved in the Zoroastrian scriptures.

Thursday, December 28
* Holy Innocents' Day - Christianity
A day of solemn memory for the male children of Bethlehem killed by King Herod in an attempt to destroy Jesus.

Saturday, December 30
* Sharaf - Bahá'í
The beginning of the sixteenth month of the Bahá'í year; its name means "honor."

Sunday, December 31 New Year's Eve
* Ghambar Maidyarem (through January 4) - Zoroastrianism
A celebration for the creation of animals, and a time for the equitable sharing of food with others.
Monday, January 1 New Year's Day
* Temple Day - Buddhism
North American Buddhists attend special services in temples on this day.

* Feast of Mary, Mother of God; and the Naming of Jesus Christ - Christianity
Some Christians celebrate this day in honor of Jesus' mother; others celebrate this day (eight days after Jesus' birth) as the day when Jesus was presented at the Temple and officially named by his parents.

* Gantan-sai (O-shōgatsu) - Shintō
This Japanese celebration of the New Year includes prayers for the renewal of hearts, good health and prosperity. The festival lasts for a week, during which time people visit one another's homes and offer gifts of good wishes for the coming year.

Tuesday, January 2
* Mahāyāna New Year - Buddhism
This celebration falls on the first full moon day in January for Buddhists who practice in the Mahāyāna (Great Vehicle) stream. By contrast, in Theravadin countries (Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Laos) the new year is celebrated in April, while Tibetan Buddhists generally celebrate it in March.

* Birthday of Amitābha Buddha - Buddhism
Marking the birth of the bodhisattva Dharmakāra who resolved to attain enlightenment as a buddha and vowed to create a Pure Land. He became the buddha Amitābha ("infinite light"), and any sentient being who desires to be born into that land is guaranteed rebirth there through his vow, and from there she/he/it will unfailingly reach Nirvana. This belief forms the foundation of Pure Land Buddhism, which is practiced by many Buddhists in Japan, China, and other East Asian countries.

Thursday, January 4
* Ghambar Maidyarem ends - Zoroastrianism
A celebration for the creation of animals, and a time for the equitable sharing of food with all.

Friday, January 5
* Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Ji - Sikhism
A celebration in honor of the tenth and final Sikh master [1666 - 1708 C.E.], who created the Brotherhood of the Pure (Khalsa) and who declared the scriptures (Adi Granth) to be the guru for all Sikhs from that time onward. This date is used by adherents of the Nanakshahi tradition.

Saturday, January 6
* Epiphany - Christianity (Western and some Eastern churches)
Marking the traditional date of the visitation of the Magi to meet the infant Jesus and the end of the twelve days of Christmas, also known as Día de los Reyes (Day of the Kings). In Armenian Christian churches, this date is celebrated as the Feast of the Nativity. Most Western churches celebrate this feast as Epiphany, which comes from the Latin word meaning "manifestation," and will mark it on Sunday, January 7th; in Ethiopian Orthodox churches it is known as Timkat and is celebrated on January 19th.

* Feast of the Theophany - Christianity (some Eastern churches)
In some Eastern churches, this feast is associated with the baptism of Jesus by John and Jesus' first recorded miracle in the Gospels, where he changed water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana. This celebration begins at sundown on the previous day. In Eastern churches using the Julian calendar, this feast occurs on January 19th.

Sunday, January 7
* Christmas - Christianity (some Eastern churches)
The celebration of Jesus' birth begins at sundown on this day, according to the Julian calendar used in some Orthodox churches.

* Swami Vivekananda Jayanti - Hinduism
A celebration of the birth of Swami Vivekananda, who introduced Hinduism to North America at the World's Parliament of Religions, held in 1893 in Chicago during the World's Fair.
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