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11
Dec

Blue Christmas

Posted on December 11th, 2015

This past Wednesday, Geri led our New Life staff team through a Blue Christmas service. It was so profoundly moving, that we plan to do it with our whole church later this month.

blue-christmas-long

A Blue Christmas service is a space created for people to grieve their losses while holding on to the reality that Jesus is the Light and Savior of the world. It is usually held around the winter solstice (December 21 or 22), the longest night of the year and the day that marks the start of winter. Theologically, it integrates the fuller Christmas story – both the joy surrounding Jesus’ birth and Herod’s horrific slaughter of all the male children two years old and younger.

For many people the Christmas holidays are a painful time. A loved one has died. Others have lost meaningful relationships, marriages, jobs, security, or a sense of direction. Others find themselves battling cancer or some other health crisis that makes the future insecure. We all carry the tragedy of wars, refugees, poverty and injustice that fills our world.

A Blue Christmas offers permission for people to stop and pay attention to their losses, while at the same time remember the power and goodness of God.

David is well known for being a man after God’s own heart. What few realize is how closely this characteristic is related to the way he repeatedly paid attention to loss and disappointment. Two-thirds of his Psalms are laments. He ordered the people to join him in singing a lament after Saul’s death (2 Sam. 1:18).  David understood how indispensable grieving is to spiritual maturity and depth.

For further reading, let me recommend you read a couple of articles, one from the Huffington Post and the other from USA Today.  Geri adapted material for our Staff midday prayer from another website. Click here to take a look.

Most importantly, it is crucial that we as leaders get a healthy biblical perspective on grief and loss, so that we can integrate it into our worship and discipleship. My best, and most complete, treatment of that is found in chapter five (Embrace Grieving and Loss) of The Emotionally Healthy Church: Updated and Expanded Edition (Zondervan).

The light shines still, even now, in the darkness but the darkness can never put it out (John 1:5).

 

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