By Kevin Kindelin
It is upon us. Christmas season to us Christians, the “Holiday” season to the secular world, is knocking on our door…make that pounding on our door. We used to get inundated with “Black Friday” commercials, emails, junk mailings and such on the day after Thanksgiving. This year I started seeing them right after Halloween! There’s no way to avoid it. All around us are the decorations, lights, and strangers full of holiday cheer greeting us with “Happy Holidays” and the occasional “Merry Christmas.” We as Christians are supposed to be filled with joy as we celebrate when our Lord made Himself incarnate for us. The time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior is meant to be joyous, full of merriment, thankfulness, and spent with loved ones.
To tell you the truth, I’m not really feeling it right now. Many of us experience feelings of pain, depression, or anxiety during a time of year when everyone and everything seem to be displaying the best of who and what we are. Sure, we should be at our best throughout the year, but that’s not the reality. During this season, niceness and happiness seem to be “amped” up. To me, this only magnifies the sadness I feel during this time. I can’t call it pain; there are so many others truly in pain that sometimes, I feel guilty for feeling a little bit sorry for myself. It’s not any kind of full blown depression; it’s melancholy, or sadness, maybe it can even be called the blues, but still, it’s real. I have a wonderful family, a fantastic church, a decent job. I’m generally a happy guy. The things that hurt me never “go away,” but they’re usually buffered by all the good things I have to be thankful for. I just don’t do to well sometimes during this season. Faith and the love I feel from God through all the wonderful people around me keep me going.
There have been times, throughout the years, when I didn’t want to deal with the joyous celebration of the Christmas season, but I’ve been blessed with the ability to allow myself to make the best of each occasion. It’s not always that simple for someone hurting from loss, anxiety, depression or whatever it might be. I don’t recommend trying to get through it alone. Immanuel has a Blue Christmas service where we acknowledge that this season is not a joyous one for all of us. We can bring our feelings of pain, sadness, and loneliness, our dark memories and anxieties and lay them at the feet of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It’s not expected that you share your story. It’s a Christmas service filled with prayer and appropriate music where we can worship our Lord in honor of His birth, even if we don’t feel like celebrating. Join Pastor Tom and Deaconess Suzanne on Sunday, December, 20th at 4:00 at the Blue Christmas service. Both Pastor Tom and Deaconess Suzanne have experienced significant losses and know personally how important it is to be supported with love and encouragement from those who understand what it is like to have loved and lost.
Pastor Tom has issued an open invitation, “If you are feeling blue or have lost someone in your life, or if you want to care for those who have, this service is for you.” This service is designed to recognize and acknowledge feelings of loss, loneliness, and pain to give us comfort and support among people who understand these feelings. Personally, I think it’s time to stop hiding behind my “mask” and confront my feelings instead of just trying to make the best of things. A different song comes to mind other than Elvis’ Blue Christmas when I think of this service: “There’s a place for us, somewhere a place for us.” Maybe I’ll see you there.