This evening at St. A’s we observed our annual Blue Christmas service – a service for anyone who has suffered a loss (a loved one, a relationship, a job…), and finds it hard to enter into the manic joy that characterizes so much of this season.
I used to struggle with the idea of a Blue Christmas service. I find the joy so easy to access, the idea of finding that difficult was foreign to me. But something happened along the way. Somehow – and I have no defining moment or event or memory to point to on this – along the way, God seems to have made me open to the idea that my experience isn’t everyone’s experience, that what I might find easy may be very difficult for someone else.
And so the Blue Christmas service for me has become a reminder of that. To have respect and empathy for the feelings and experiences of other people. While I might not be heavily burdened with sorrows at this time of year, my heart goes out to those who are.
These are the words I would want them to hear:
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 NIV
If you are broken-hearted, know that God is closer than you think. Know that he cares. Know that he crossed the universe and was born as a helpless baby so he could save you, so he would know what it is like to be human, to carry sorrow, to be broken-hearted.
Know this and be comforted by it.