Jill Jarrell Newsome
Blue Christmas 2022
Christmas is a time of joy for many but it can also be a time of sorrow. I miss my dad, especially, at Christmas because he and I loved Christmas and were always the first ones up. Christmas will never be the same without him but I try to think of the wonderful time he is having in God's presence. I pray for those who are experiencing their "first" Christmas without their loved ones. At church we have a Blue Christmas service that is so special.
The Blue Christmas service honors the empty chair and memories of those we love by lighting four candles. God gave us His greatest gift in His Son, Jesus Christ and He gave us the loved ones we lost. During the service candles are lit for our love for the loved ones we lost. They were God’s gift to us and we are thankful for our time together. The second candle reminds us that God gave us His greatest gift, His Son, Jesus Christ and He gave us the loved ones we lost. This candle represents our memory of past holidays and the traditions that we created with our loved ones and their uniqueness that made the holidays special. The third candle represents the grief we are experiencing. As we believe our loved ones are in God’s presence we ask God to grant us the “courage to persevere in the work of grieving so that we can confront our sorrow and move through the pain to the other side of grief.” The fourth candle lit signifies our hope for the future. As Christians, we have hope. We have Jesus in our hearts and He conquered death and the grave. We have hope because God holds each of us.
I remember wanting to cancel those first holidays because it hurt so bad. As I worked through my grief I realized that Christmas is also for those of us who mourn and grieve because Jesus conquered the very things that create such sorrow in our hearts. The blood and death that surrounded the birth of Jesus can make His light even brighter to those who are grieving. He came to offer us forgiveness and the hope of eternal life. May you cling to God during this time. Job 5: 11, "The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety." Isaiah 41: 10, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Because of God’s promise, we can sing, “Because He lives, we can face tomorrow!”