My blogging friend, Debra – She Who Seeks, just put up a post entitled “Blue Christmas”. Apparently, it is a tradition at her church to hold a “special service of meditation, quiet reflections and readings which acknowledge and honour the fact that Christmas is not always a happy time for everyone.”
How strange,….. I was just thinking about posting about that very thing (or what another blogger described as serendipitous convergence); that Christmas can be especially cold, sad and lonely for many who do not have the support of family or friends around them or are going through difficult times.
None of the churches that I have attended had a ‘Blue Christmas’ service. However, for most of my life, until recently, I have always preferred to avoid all the festivities like going carol singing or attending loud joyous celebrations and parties. There was a time that apart from attending church, I would prefer to just have a quiet night and sleep early. I didn’t do any of the exchange of cards or presents either.
It took me a long time to understand that this shunning of festivities at Christmas was rooted in my own hangups ………specifically, that I felt that I did not deserve to be happy. As a foreign student in the UK many years ago, I was on occasion invited to people’s homes for Christmas lunch or dinner with their families. I always felt uncomfortable and was mentally squirming the whole time I was there. Only years later, I understood that I felt uncomfortable because I believed that I had no business being there in their happy family gathering. I felt like an undeserving interloper.
Regular readers will know that I went through a period of depression at one point of my life and this kind of thinking comes from that dark well. Today, instead, Christmas reminds me that God loves me and that is all I need to chase the dark clouds away.
But all this is my way of saying that I know how it can feel to be the disenfranchised, the lonely, the foreigner, the migrant, the hurt, the grieving. It is being outside and looking in. Out in the cold with an empty stomach and looking through a window at a feast inside. Seeing others celebrate but being left out.
So, I believe that the way to celebrate Christmas is to do our part to show God’s love to those around us. Celebrate by serving, just as Jesus ‘did not come to be served, but to serve’ (Matthew 20: 28) and gave of himself. Sure, it’s okay to have fun and celebrate at parties and dinners – I do so nowadays too but do more……..serve others too.
This year, I will be joining others to go caroling to those who are ill with cancer as well as to residents at a nursing home – to come alongside them, share their problems, pray for them and share joy. At my church, we will also be opening our church on Christmas Eve for people to come in off the street for some food and drink. We are making the church available to some of the foreign workers near us so that they can invite their friends to come in and join the festivities.
At Christ’s birth, the angels declared about peace and joy. Perhaps, we should continue to pray for peace and help spread joy in this flawed world. Blessed Christmas folks.
4 thoughts on “Outside Looking In”
A perceptive and touching post. And thanks for the shout-out too. The true spirit of Christmas is what this season is all about!
Beautiful message 🤗. You’ve eloquently encapsulated the meaning of Christmas in the truest sense of the word. The Blue Christmas idea is a wonderful one 💙
Thanks Debra and Laina. Just writing from the heart.