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Letters to the Editor: Blue Christmas


December 18, 2019

This is a time of year when the expectations are so high and the demand for joyfulness is so great. We are filled with tunes like “Joy to the World” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”; we race around shopping for the perfect gifts, getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season; we fill our schedules with holiday parties and concerts; we turn out an abundance of Christmas cookies, chocolates, and special holiday meals.

But this time of year can also highlight our sadness – our own darkness, fear, and grief. Maybe your loved one has died, either recently or years ago. Maybe your family is a dysfunctional mess. Maybe home for you is far away and you are stuck here. Maybe your loved one is serving overseas. Maybe you suffer from anxiety or depression that is extenuated in the winter months. Maybe you are a single-parent or unemployed or working multiple jobs, and cannot support your family in the ways that the season seems to demand. Maybe you are single and alone. Maybe you are suffering from terminal illness, or caring for a loved one who is sick. The tune of this season may not match the reality of your life.

The good news for those of us who feel blue this holiday season is that we await a savior who came into the world for us. The prophet Isaiah (9:2) reminds us that “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light”. Furthermore, the gospel of Matthew (11:28-30) says “come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Lastly, the gospel of John (1:5) proclaims, “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it”. Throughout Scripture, we see God’s compassion and mercy for those in darkness, those in grief, the poor, the sick, those who feel hopeless. We know the depth of the good news of God when we come together in honesty of life’s struggles and still see the light shine. This light is Christ, who embedded himself in human life, so that we could experience the fullness of God’s love for us.

So hear this: It is okay to be blue when everyone else is red and green. It is okay to be sad in the midst of excessive cheerfulness. But it is also okay to be joyful even when we feel sad. It is okay to let yourself celebrate in hard times. It is okay to share moments of laughter even when we know illness and grief. Because Christ is Emmanuel, God with us, in the midst of it all.

If you would like to be surrounded by brothers and sisters who are also struggling this holiday season, you are invited to the Blue Christmas service at Chinook Presbyterian Church, Saturday December 21st, at 7 p.m. This service is led by Pastor Maggie Lewis, the Local Advisory Committee on Mental Health for Blaine County and hometown mental health provider Ellen Savage. All are welcome.

May the peace of Christ be with you always –

Pastor Maggie


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