We are also in the Holiday season as Americans. No matter how well intentioned, it is nearly impossible to avoid Santa Claus, shopping malls, Amazon.com, and the color red. To celebrate the commercialized Christmas may be wrong, but it is natural for us to feel a sense of excitement and joy as a result of it. Our challenge is to remember to put Christ first, this, and every time of year but also to enjoy the company of family and friends that the season brings.
Yet the month of December is not the brightest time for everyone. The holidays bring memories of loved ones passed, opportunities missed, and connections broken. Depression and high suicide rates increase as the days before Christmas, and then the New Year, draw closer. The supposed celebration and hope we see in and outside the church makes it difficult for many to get through their day-to-day lives this time of year.
Two years ago, while on internship, my stepfather set up a "Blue Christmas Service" for his congregation. The concept was to take time for those who do feel pain during the holiday season so that they may know they do not go through it alone. That no matter what they are suffering from, they have God and God's children to lean on. That they can take the time to grieve and lament about how this time of year can hurt them so much. It is so important for many who are broken that they know they have a strong shoulder to cry on.
Although we at O.S.A. do not have such a service, I would encourage each of you to care for those who are struggling right now. To remember that as we give and receive our gifts, so also, should we remember those who do not have someone to exchange even the gift of love. Jesus was born into a world of hurt and pain and that world continues to go on no matter what month of the year it is. What better way to celebrate our Saviour’s birth than to care for another of God’s children in their time of need especially if that time is Christmas?