A Blue Christmas [Service]

Christmas is far-and-away my favorite holiday, but this year the Christmas spirit just hasn’t come over me. This is large-in-part to the fact that it is SEVENTY DEGREES in Nashville and there are still trees flecked with yellow waiting for a hard frost to knock the last of the leaves from their branches. But I’ve also struggled to get in the Christmas spirit because I’ve been treading water in a season of uncertainty and fear (which I won’t dive into on this blog, but can read about on my last blog here).

So tonight I went with a friend to a “Blue Christmas” service. It is a service that acknowledges that, for some, and at times for all, the holidays can be a difficult season. For someone it is a reminder of loss, pain, disappointment or death.

In my experience, the church does a poor job of reflecting life authentically. In that I mean that church is often a place where we are only expected to be “blessed.” When you are suffering, church sometimes feels even more isolating; you can feel guilty or shamed or inadequate for not having joy. And I’d argue that in the Christmas season we expect people to have joy and no sorrow.

But this Blue Christmas service brought lament into the picture; it gave space to acknowledge and mourn our sorrows in a season meant for joy. And the beauty of a church coming together to mourn their grief gives me as much hope as the joy of Christmas itself.

So, all that said, I mostly just want to share a piece of the liturgy that spoke to me and I hope speaks to you as well.

God who is with us, in this season of looking forward, of anticipating the celebration of your Son’s birth and return in glory, we often find ourselves uncomfortable, uneasy, worried and sad. The lights and the gaiety, the music, the bright joy around us, often make us more unquiet, more out of step, feeling even more disconnected and different.

Wait for the Lord whose day is near. Be strong. Take heart.

God of Light and Life, we light this candle for all those who are struggling with issues involving physical or mental health. We especially remember those struggling with cancer, depression, or thoughts of suicide. May its lgiht remind us all of the healing available to us in Christ Jesus. Hear our prayers that anguish be minimized and your good plan fulfilled for each who suffer.

Wait for the Lord whose day is near. Be strong. Take heart.

We light this candle for all those who grieve. You know our deepest need, you understand our plain – lost dreams, lost opportunities, the seperation of death. May its light remind us that we are not orphaned, we are not alone. Grant us grace that in pain we may find comfort, in sorrow hope, and in death ressurection.

Wait for the Lord whose day is near. Be strong. Take heart.

We light this candle for all those who wrestle with the chains of addiction. Help us to name that which enslaves us and face it: food, alcohol, drugs, pornography, shopping, escapism, self-medication, and self-abuse in all its forms. May this candle bring your light to those secret, and not so secret, activities of imprisonment. Hear our prayers for deliverance and freedom; help us and those we love break the hold of these evils. 

Wait for the Lord whose day is near. Be strong. Take heart.

We light this candle for all those who are victims of violence in any of its forms. May its light lead us to peace, safety, and truth. Pour forth encouragement to claim your help in healing physically and spiritually, to trust in your justice, to find assistance, to resist blaming ourselves, to be confident in the future you have planned for us, a future full of hope. 

Wait for the Lord whose day is near. Be strong. Take heart.

We light this candle for all those who are experiencing the pain of broken relationships with family, children, spouses, and friends. May its light remind us of the pure communion you desire for all your creation. Our desire for this same communion makes estrangement so painful. Lead us to relinquich the hold broken relationships have on us, to forgive ourselves for our contribution to the breach, to forgive those who have hurt us, to take the steps to mend that relationship, if possible. Lord, we know that sometimes we suffer fro a broken relationship withs someone who is now dead. Help us to prayerfully examine, receive and extend forgiveness in that situation, that we may live again.

Wait for the Lord whose day is near. Be strong. Take heart.

We ask all these things the strong name of Jesus. Amen.

And with that, I leave you with one of my favorite Christmas songs. May this season, whether in joy or sorrow, be one where you cling to the hope of a baby boy born that we may live.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s