Written by: Stephanie Bowman, Associate Chaplain
I'll have a blue Christmas without you,
I'll be so blue just thinkin' about you.
I’m sure you all recognize those famous lyrics from the song, Blue Christmas, famously sung by Elvis Presley. In the midst of a season focused on joy and happiness, this is one of the few songs which acknowledges that for many people, this season is not filled with joy and happiness.
There are many reasons why this time of year is difficult for some: grief, isolation, loneliness, fear, and broken relationships to name a few.
These feelings can seem even bigger when everyone around us seems to be swept up in the joy of the season. Yet, the Christmas story itself helps us look beyond all the festive “trappings” of Christmas. In this story we see Mary, a pregnant, newly married teenager, and her husband Joseph, a poor carpenter, forced to journey to Bethlehem while Mary is 9 months pregnant. They cannot find any place to stay so their baby is born in a stable. Doesn’t sound too festive and happy, does it? This story beautifully illustrates that God is present with us in every situation we find ourselves,
the joyful moments as well as the moments of grief, pain, and suffering. God is always at work in every season. Maybe you’re not feeling joyful this Christmas season, and that’s OK. Give yourself the space to tend to whatever emotions you are feeling. Give yourself permission to step back from doing things that don’t serve you well this year. The world may be pushing us to celebrate, buy lots of presents, decorate every inch of our homes, and bake dozens of cookies, but the Christmas story invites us to see how God is at work in the fear, pain, and broken places of our lives. Maybe you are having a Blue Christmas this year, but you are not alone. Immanuel, which means Godwith-us, enters into the reality of our lives, shining a light on our dark path. And that is how we will find true peace in the midst of our Blue Christmas.