This year, as in year’s past, my parish offered a special service devoted to those who were grieving. The holidays are hard for many of us, especially when we have lost a loved one whose presence we miss during family gatherings.
The “Empty Chair” is a harsh reminder that times have changed and will never be the same.
Sometimes it isn’t even the death of a loved one that brings sadness at Christmas or New Year’s celebrations. It could be job loss, separation or divorce, financial troubles, family dysfunction, sickness, disease or trauma. Life isn’t a Hallmark movie for most of us. Pretending we have no despair doesn’t usually make us feel any better.
When it seems we are the only one not celebrating, we need a safe place where we can bring our broken hearts and find words of comfort, reassurance, and hope.
Our Blue Christmas service invites us to come as we are. It is a space that honors our memories and welcomes our tears. It’s become a special tradition for me over the years.