Yes, it is a cheesy Elvis song, but it is also the reality for so many during this season. Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration; it is the time when the Word was made Flesh, when God broke through the darkness of night to reveal the power of grace. Even if you keep only to the secular meaning of Christmas, it is supposed to be a time of laughter, of family, of giving.
For so many, Christmas is none of these things. It is simply the time when the pain, which is usually numb, comes back in agonizing sharpness. For those that mourn at Christmas, for those who have lost loved ones in the past year, for those that are lonely and lost and seeking desperately for someone to cling to, Christmas can be a stark reminder of the emptiness.
It is not that they begrudge others of their joy. It is not because they are jealous. Often, the source of their sadness is the same source for the joy of others. Christmas is linked to our childhood, to our memories. The signs of Christmas are a seasonal reminder of what once was. For some, this means joyful memories of happy gifts, singing songs, warm hugs and delicious foods. For others, this means memories of abuse, empty chairs, meager tables.
Blue Christmas is a reminder that not all celebrate during this season. Blue Christmas is a reminder that not all holiday memories are happy ones. Blue Christmas is a reminder that those that mourn are not alone.
If you are mourning this Christmas, there is nothing wrong with you. It is okay to be sad. It is okay to be lonely. It is okay, and you are not alone. There are others that are struggling. There are others that cannot face the depth of the cold black night. There are others that do not want to wake.
Sometimes this knowledge is enough – not enough to lose the pain – but enough to get through it. Sometimes it is enough to simply know, “I am not alone.” So I offer you this reminder, you are not alone.
You weep, and I weep with you. But more importantly, God weeps with you.
You are not alone – never. Not in the depth of despair. Not in the darkest shadow. You are not alone, and God has the power to break through the deepest darkness, even if you don’t.
For that, I hope we can all say, “Hallelujah.” Even if it is a cold and broken Hallelujah.
And if you are in Chenoa on Thursday, December 18 at 7:00 p.m., stop by the United Methodist Church and be with us for our Blue Christmas service.