‘Tis the season for hope, anticipation
December is upon us, and with it the enthusiastic shouts of “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy Holidays!”
Everywhere in the world around us, we’re hearing “Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas,” even as we are bombarded with images of that perfect, joyous holiday we’re all supposed to be having.
Yet, while it is Christmastime in our larger culture, we in the church have entered a different kind of season in Advent. “Advent” means “coming” or “arrival,” and it is about waiting, with hope, expectation, and anticipation, for the arrival of God’s kingdom on earth. As one author puts it, “Advent is the celebration of the promise that Christ will bring an end to all that is contrary to the ways of God.” As we take an honest look at all that is contrary to God’s will in the world and our own lives, we recognize the ways our lives and the world are broken and in need of healing.Further, we recognize that many in our world are getting through this time with a major disconnect. It is difficult to find the “merry” in Christmas if you are grieving the loss of a loved one, a broken relationship or when Christmastime brings up painful memories. The isolation of anxiety and grief can make the long winter darkness seem even drearier.
On Dec. 22 at 7 p.m., on the longest night of the year, First Presbyterian Church will offer a Blue Christmas service. This meditative worship will be a welcoming space of quiet, solace and rest. We will take time for all those who grieve to gather honestly with their sadness; we will take time for those who are lost, lonely, brokenhearted and in need of healing to gather with one another and offer prayers for every kind of brokenness people experience. We invite anyone seeking such a space, and all those who support them, to come, worship and entrust our lives anew to the Lord who comes and walks with us through every kind of hardship, making way for healing.