Blue Christmas

Longest Night: Blue Christmas Evening Prayer
Saturday, December 21 at 7pm
Worship Center

While Advent is a season of hope and Christmas is a season of joy, not everyone feels hopeful or like celebrating. Grief, illness, aging, depression, loneliness, unemployment, and loss are magnified. Even those who are not struggling with losses may feel the stress of preparations and expectations around Christmas time. A Longest Night/Blue Christmas service may provide a time and place of solace during the often frenetic days surrounding the celebration of Christmas. We come together seeking healing and room to share grief, sadness, loneliness, or confusion when these emotions often feel out of place during the holidays.

In the Northern Hemisphere, December 21 is the longest night, the winter solstice. It marks the shortest day of the year, the official start of winter. Tradition says that nature and all her creatures stop and hold their breath to see if the sun will turn back from its wanderings, if the days will lengthen and the earth will once again feel the sun’s warmth. On this darkest day of the year, we come with our honest yearnings seeking the return of light and hope.

“Her husband, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.”

Joseph was righteous, meaning he obeyed the laws of scripture. But this verse reveals that righteousness is not enough. He still intended to thwart God’s plan of salvation for the world because of his commitment to be righteous. Sure, he tried to find a middle ground, choosing not to expose her publicly, but his plan was still to abandon her to bear her child alone. Righteousness is not enough if it only means following the rules. Righteousness has to be more, it has be about doing what is right and good for all people at all times with a good heart. That kind of righteousness is impossible for us, but not for Jesus. He alone is righteous and his righteousness is a gift to us.

-Pastor Travis

“What did you go out into the wilderness to look at?” Matthew 11:7

This is the question Jesus asks of the crowds that went to see John the Baptist. Maybe they didn’t’ know the answer. Why had they gone out? What did they hope they would find from a desert preacher dressed like the prophets of old? Had they found it? Jesus’ question makes me think about our own religious searching and how we mostly come back with more questions and uncertainty. Or maybe we just don’t put in the work to really come to grips with the answers God gives us. Sometimes, I think, we like the uncertainty and mystery because it means we don’t have to take action.

Jesus presses the people who went to see John the Baptist. He tells them what they went out to see, in case they were still wondering. John was the prophet sent to prepare the way for the Messiah. Jesus is declaring himself the Messiah to these questioners, these undecideds, these seekers. And he is telling us that he is the Messiah, the one God has promised. With his question Jesus serves up a call to commitment, a call to action. How will we respond? What does it mean to claim Jesus as the Messiah? How does that claim challenge us to live differently?

-Pastor Travis

“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
 ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
  make his paths straight.’ ”

Do you find yourself following the same paths most days? I think about my daily routines and the worn paths that come with it each day and I wonder if I lose the bigger picture in my ordinary routines. The voice crying in the wilderness invites us to deviate from the ordinary and to make a path for the Lord. Not just a path, but to make that path straight. At it’s most literal it tells me that I need to make the most direct connection to the Lord that I can in all that I do. Does my daily routine include a straight path to God, am I taking time this Advent season to prepare the way, do I hear the voice crying in the wilderness? It’s so easy to get caught up in the rush of the holidays rather than expectant waiting, to be easily annoyed by the mess and clutter of decorating, baking, and wrapping instead of dwelling in the joy that is shared in the receiving of the preparations, and to lose the path when we can’t see beyond the one next thing on the schedule. It’s time to remember that our path to the Lord is only a winding, twisting and turning mess when we let “things” get in the way of our relationships, especially our relationship with God. During this season of Advent, change up your path. Take time to hear the voice in the wilderness and let it direct you to the hopeful, joyful, and peaceful path that guides us into relationship with the Lord our God.
-Pastor Carrie

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: