December can be a wonderful month if you love Christmas music and when your family and friends are going to be gathering around you soon for the holidays.
But December can be a very hard month when someone you love has died or is far away.
When you are struggling with an addiction, mental illness or physical illness.
When there is conflict in your family,
when you and your spouse are fighting or divorcing,
when your kid is struggling and there is nothing you can do to fix it for them,
when your parent or sibling is sick or going through tough times and you can't make it better.
When you are gay or Muslim or different in some other way and you live in a place where you feel afraid that someone is going to hurt you, say something mean to you, or paint on your car or house.
When you have lost a job, or money is tight and you don't think you can afford the things we are taught to "need" to make Christmas merry.
There are so many reasons why December can be hard.
I have had many Blue Christmases over the years. The Christmas a few months after my separation and filing for divorce, knowing my step-son was going to be taken right after Christmas to live with his Dad and I would not be given visitation was particularly hard. The first Christmas without my dad was another. These are just a couple. It was very difficult both of those times to be the public face of Christian hope and Christmas joy while also going through deep personal loss and grief.
We are always living lives that are a complex mix of emotions. Sad and happy, merry and depressed, hopeful and cynical. Our lives are never perfectly merry and, the good news is, they are never fully dark either. There is always a reason, no matter how small, to be thankful --even if the only thing we are thankful for is that we are not alone in the dark. Jesus is holding our hand, walking with us, and bringing back the light bit by bit.
If you are struggling this Christmas, know that you can talk to me. And you are invited to our Blue Christmas Service Thursday Dec 21 at 6:30 PM You are not alone in the dark - we are with you!