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Preparing for Christmas was always an exciting time growing up.

From hopping into our Chevy Astro van and heading to pick out a tree to hanging the stockings by the front door with care, and with all of the lights and presents and smells of the holy-day season made the house warm and magical.

I know of people who are biting at the bit when the Advent season comes around so they can finally create all those Pintrest projects they’ve been preparing to make. There are houses around town that prepare to welcome the holiday season by straightening and checking the thousands of lights that’ll illuminate their house on the outside.

Y’all get the point. Preparing for Christmas takes on a variety of shapes…

Over the last two days the chapel has been preparing for the Christmas season as well. We have hung up the blue paraments and décor in our chapel in preparation for our Blue Christmas/Longest Night worship service.

Most of you know by now what this is. But for those of you who don’t, here is quick synopsis: Blue? Yes, blue as in the blues. As in "I am feeling blue." Not everyone is up and cheery for the Christmas holidays. Dealing with the death of a loved one, facing life after divorce or separation, coping with the loss of a job, living with cancer or some other dis-ease that puts a question mark over the future, and a number of other human situations make parties and joviality painful for many people in our congregations and communities.

This time of year is hard for many. While most families are preparing for wonderful reunions around long dining room tables or catching up with old friends on the beach, some are quietly sinking into sadness as they face some hard realities:

This is the first year they won’t need to prepare a meal because, the children have chosen to visit the in-laws or there's nobody to prepare for.

Some on Christmas Eve instead of reading “Twas the night before Christmas…” will be driving home for the first time since college…

Some during the holiday season are preparing responses to that relative who insists their political and ideological perspectives are right and that the reason for the season is NOT about LOVE but instead is about fear, hatred, and building walls or excluding others in the name of the One we are waiting for…

Some will wake up on Christmas day for the first time not surrounded by their own walls and own decorations but to the stale smell of processed food and sterilized living facilities…

Some will not be alone for the holidays because their family or church or whoever has rejected them because of they no longer choose to live as someone else…

The holidays can be hard.

Be gentle this holiday season, friends. Those folks you encounter who may not be as jolly as you are and deemed as Scrooges, might be dealing with something that …

So, those of you who are dreading the holidays or think you’re alone in feeling blue, you’re not. Many of us sit with you in this season—whether that is blissful or sorrowful—we sit, we pray, and we love you.

One last note as to why we need a Blue Christmas service. But instead of me using my words, I’ll let an image from the newspaper do the talking:

[Pastor Adam Quine of First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln]


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