A candle against a blue background

The Reality of Blue Christmas

People of Hope:

Next Wednesday, December 14 at 7 pm, we gather in the sanctuary for the annual Blue Christmas service. Though Christmas is often seen as a sparkly, joyous time of the year—and it is for some, this most celebrated holiday in our culture often triggers more intense grief for those who are struggling with loss. While we may think of the death of loved ones as the only type of loss, there are actually many losses we grieve—loss of pets, loss of employment, including retirement, loss of relationships, through divorce and other means, loss of health or a particular way of life. And when we enter the Christmas / Advent season, for most of us, we are not only experiencing what is happening right here and now; we are also vividly remembering what we experienced in the past. The losses of our lives can then seem fresh even if we suffered the initial loss many years before.

Grief can immobilize us, lead us to senseless anger, confuse us, fill us with despair. Unfortunately, grief is not always a linear process. Still, it can be helpful to have a roadmap. Here is one paradigm for the stages of grief.

Stage 1: Shock & Denial

Stage 2: Pain & Guilt

Stage 3: Anger & Bargaining

Stage 4: Depression, Reflection, Loneliness

Stage 5: The Upward Turn

Stage 6: Reconstruction & Working Through

Stage 7: Acceptance & Hope

Grieving is the process in which our attachments to the loss are not entirely given up but are sufficiently altered to permit us to admit the reality of the loss—and then to live without constant reference to it. It is not necessary or even possible to clean away all memories, but it is important to prevent the loss from being the point around which we build our future lives. In successful grieving, the mourner gradually becomes able to make attachments and investments in other people, roles, or way of life once again.

If you would like to learn more about the stages of grief, I can easily share a document with more information. Simply shoot me an email, and I can email it to you: [email protected].

All are welcome to the Blue Christmas service, whether you are grieving a loss or simply want to support others who are.

With hope,
Pastor Sarah

Photo by Laura Hope on Unsplash