Musings from Ministry Team Members

Posted November 29th, 2018

Some thoughts to ponder if your Christmas is a bit “Blue”  — Pastor Kathryn

The following is a lightly adapted ‘Blue Christmas’ worship meditation and ritual created by Rex A. E. Hunt who is a ‘grass roots’ religious naturalist, progressive liturgist, and social ecologist.  He lives on the Central Coast of New South Wales. Forty-six years ordained, first as a Presbyterian (1972), he is today a retired minister of the Uniting Church in Australia (formed in 1977).

Christmas is a time for memories and remembering. For some, the memories are of loved family members who have died, and the holiday season makes the pain of these losses ever more real. For others, the memories are of happier times than we now know; felt as the anguish of broken relationships, the insecurity around employment, the anxiety of illness or poor health, or the emptiness of loss after a bushfire. We sometimes can feel very alone in the midst of all the celebrating of the season, the singing, and the constant proclamation of “Joy, joy, joy!” As we enter this season it is good to remember, we are in the presence of God’s comforting love. It is good to remember that with God, we are safe to feel what we feel: to acknowledge our sadness, to share our concern, to release our anger, to face our emptiness, and still to know that God by whatever name – cares. In the community that is ‘church’, we are in a safe place – a place of comfort and support – a place where we are not alone in our life experiences. When we lose, we grieve. Grief is normal. Grief is universal. At the same time grief is extremely personal. May we and others not forget or deny our journey of grief. We enter the season of Christmas; bringing our needs AND the needs of the world, with our faith AND with our doubts, with our hopes AND our fears. We come as we are, because it is God who invites us to come. And God has promised never to turn us away.

Rather than hiding your reality of a “Blue Christmas”, you are encouraged to name it and ritualize it by lighting a candle each week of Advent and speaking, praying or reading the following words:

The first candle is lit to remember those whom we have loved and lost. We pause to remember their name, their face, their voice, the memory that binds them to us in this season. The second candle is lit to mend the pain of loss. The loss of relationships, the loss of jobs, the loss of health, the loss of home. We pause to gather up the pain of the past and offer it to God, asking that from God’s hands we receive the gift of peace. The third candle is lit to remember ourselves this Christmas time. We pause and remember the past weeks and months and years: the disbelief, the anger, the down times, the poignancy of reminiscing, the hugs and handshakes of family and friends, all those who stood with us. The fourth candle is lit to remember the gift of hope which the Christmas story offers to us. We remember that God is our companion, who shares our life, blessing us, and filling us with longing and with courage. In this season of Advent and Christmas, let us remember: God’s care that – surrounds us, leads us into the future, defeats the darkness with dawn and holds us in Love.

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