As I sit here and type this, it is very “blah” outside. The sky is overcast, the sun is masked, and it just gives me this dreary feeling. Now last night I watched a few minutes of the old claymation favorite, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, with my boys. In one scene the town is full of snow and decorations, and everyone is outside dancing around having a wonderful time. Remembering that scene and then looking at what is currently outside my window…big difference.
This time of year can often have that type of contrast for those people that we love and care about. While for a child, this time of year is full of hope and possibilities; with the coming of Santa, the possibilities of the gifts they may receive, and the fun times to be spent with family and friends. For others, this can be a time of intense loneliness and grief. Especially, if this is the first Christmas without a loved one.
During this time of Advent, we are encouraged to participate in the practice of preparation. Engaging in that preparation can and does mean several things. It means we are honest with God about where we are on our spiritual journey and the state of our relationship with God. It means that as we prepare for the second coming of Christ, we do our best to live into everything God has blessed us with and into the person God created us to be. To be genuine in all of this, one of the things we must be honest about is the state of our spirit. While it is my sincere hope that each person reading this is in the midst of a joy so deep and profound that they can hardly stand it, I know that is not the reality for all of us.
Therefore, this year we are going to participate in a Blue Christmas service. This Sunday, December 18th, at 3:00 P.M. in the Sanctuary, we are going to gather for a time of worship. We are going to acknowledge the sorrows and grief we may be experiencing and we are also going to acknowledge the hope we have in Jesus Christ. There will be a time of singing, a chance to pray, a time to listen, and if you feel lead, a time to participate. If you have lost a loved one, if you are grieving this Advent season, if you are struggling to find the joy of Christmas, then please come and join us. All are invited and everyone is welcome.
I pray this season you experience the peace of God, the love of Christ, and the hope of the Holy Spirit in ways like never before. I long for the joy of this season to wash over you in a deep and meaningful way. God loves you and so does Community UMC. Please do not forget that.
May the hope, peace, joy and love of our Triune God be yours today and every day!