Oh, this time of year! Some people love it, some people hate it. There are so many things tied to the time from Thanksgiving to not just Christmas but also the start of a new year. It brings to light the reality of losses, financial pressures, broken relationships, shame, family brokenness or non-existedness, faith shifts, depression, and dreams that keep on not coming true.
You name it–this season stirs it up.
I wrote a series a few years ago called “When Christmas is Hard” and thought I’d share it again this week. I’ve got a lot of friends hanging on by a thread right now physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I noticed that I said “Christmas is hard” at least 10 times in conversations today. Tomorrow night is our Blue Christmas gathering at The Refuge; I wish we could do it online but it’s just one of those things that requires “being there.” We have 8 experiential stations that give a place to get in touch with what’s really going on inside and gather some hope, ranging from loss & comfort to unlocking the good to hand massages to anger (breaking ornaments) and other loveliness.
Meanwhile here are the “When Christmas is Hard” posts if you or someone you know can use them:
- when christmas is hard
- when christmas is hard: help
- when christmas is hard: honoring paradox
- when christmas is hard: look toward the light
One more that might resonate in this same theme, too:
- when joy is elusive – From SheLoves Magazine last December
I’ll close with part of this Blue Christmas Prayer from Coffehouse Contemplative I stumbled on this week that I think is really lovely. You can read the whole prayer here. I adapted some of the “they’s” that were in the prayer to “we’s” because I know a lot of us are feeling some of these things right now in different ways.
A Blue Christmas Prayer
Around us, O God, the singing can be heard: ‘Joy to the world…let heaven and nature sing.’ This season is to be one of hope eases our minds, when peace soothes our hearts, when love warms our souls, and when joy comes each morning.
But there are many of us who do not feel this joy. Some might try, others have given up trying. ‘Where is this joy for us?’ we ask. The world has found joy but some feel as if it has passed us by. Our minds are not at ease…we feel too much doubt. Our hearts are not at peace…there is too much to do. Our souls are not warmed…the chill of death is too troubling. Where, O God, can joy be found? We ask this as we come before you in prayer, opening ourselves to the possibility that hope, peace, joy, and love might still come to us.
We pray for the lonely, that we might find comfort in another’s touch.
We pray for the downtrodden, that we might find relief from our burdens.
We pray for those wrestling with depression, that a light of calm might bring us peace.
We pray for those dealing with stress, that we might find the courage to let go.
We pray for the grief-stricken, that we might experience the newness of life that you bring.
May joy come to the world, O God, and may we grasp some of that. We do not pray for joy that is temporary or fleeting, but a joy that runs deep and sustains us even in moments of despair. We seek this joy in a season that can be less than joyful.
O God, hear our prayer.
peace from colorado, kathy