All over the world churches hold a special kind of Christmas service for people… it goes by many names… at Waretown UMC it is ‘Blue Christmas’ (12/21 at 7:30pm). This service is to acknowledge the ‘blues’ that some folks are going through at this otherwise ‘most wonderful time of the year’. Pain, suffering, loss, tragedy, depression, etc. do not regard holidays or holiday seasons… they strike anywhere anytime.
If, for some of us, joy is not a possibility this season… then maybe some reflective prayer time with people who care might be just what’s needed. One of the greatest things about a strong Christian community (like a good church!) is that we are ‘in it together’ good times and bad. Sometimes this is what people need the most… knowing there is someone there who is ‘in it’ with us… good times and bad.
Christians don’t just do this for the heck of it… there are a number of reasons behind it. First, we believe that ‘love’ is the best medicine. No, it doesn’t take away the suffering folks are going through… but it can be a light in the darkness. Second, we believe that ‘faith’ makes a difference. Even if things are bad right now… we know God promises to be with us and bring good possibilities out of bad situations. Finally, we believe ‘joy’ is not just a possibility somewhere in our ‘foggy’ future… but the result of trusting in God, and as such, available to us no matter what junk we are going through. Once again, it doesn’t take away the suffering, but it gives us hope that the ‘junk’ is not in control… God is (and therefore joy is).
Jesus makes this point as he is having a very in depth conversation with his followers about joy and loss and suffering (John 16:22):
So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
If you are having pain now… trust God… there will come a time when no one will be able to take your joy from you.
It’s not my promise… it’s God’s!