From the Desk of Pastor Dottie…
In some churches, there is a tradition of a Blue Christmas service. I have never been in a church that has this tradition, but it makes sense to me. A Blue Christmas service is provided for those who are grieving, who are depressed, or facing difficulties in life. It is for those who feel a disconnect with all the joy and happiness expressed at Christmas time.
What we sometimes forget in the Christmas story, is that it was a time of difficulty. Mary and Joseph had to leave their home to go and be counted in census in Bethlehem. And they traveled when Mary was very pregnant. I remember when I was in the last month of my pregnancies, and traveling was not on the agenda.
But they, along with many people, were forced to travel to their birth places so the government could have the census numbers they required. And traveling back then was by foot, or horseback if you were well off, or by mule. They didn’t have planes, trains, buses or cars. And they had to plan for food along the way, for rest stops and places to sleep. The Innkeepers were doing well during this time, but the rest of the people were struggling as they migrated from one place to another.
The Inns were so full that Mary and Joseph had to have their baby in a stable-barn-cave. It wasn’t clean or nice smelling or warm. It had animal droppings and hay and it was cold at night. I wonder if it felt like a Blue and depressing way of having a baby. I wonder if Mary was in shock from an unexpected birthplace, or if Joseph felt overwhelmed by having his child and wife in this cold and disorganized place. My guess is that they felt a little blue, even though there was joy at the birth of a child.
Maybe you are experiencing the sadness, struggle, or disconnect with this Advent season. If so, you are not alone. The Psalms are full of those who cry out to God for help. Like Psalm 70:
Hurry, God, to deliver me;
Hurry, Lord, to help me!
But let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you,
And let those who love your saving help say again and again:
“God is great!”
But me? I’m poor and needy.
Hurry to me, God!
You are my helper and my deliverer,
Oh, Lord, don’t delay!
God’s help is coming your way. O come, O come, Emmanuel!