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Local congregation to host 'Blue Christmas'

Finding hope in two years of losses
Lighting candles will be part of acknowledging the sorrow and losses of the last two years

With Christmas decorations going up, plans being made for the holidays, and constant messaging telling us this is the 'season to be jolly', it can be difficult to cope with feelings of sorrow and loss that many experience this time of year. To bring hope into those places, a Blue Christmas service is being held to which the community is invited.

"Not everyone has or can find reason to put on a smile that isn’t forced," Pastor Mac de Waal shared, pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Outlook. “Blue Christmas acknowledges how the season can affect those who are experiencing pain and grief when it seems everyone around them is ramping up the joy and happiness of the season.” He will be joined by Minister Lila de Waal, also from the Lutheran Church, and Pastor Gordon Willison from the Alliance Church to bring a service of comfort and hope.

While some may equate Blue Christmas with the loss of loved ones, Pastor Mac wants to broaden that scope this year. “We have lost a large number of things in this pandemic,” he said. “The past two years now, we have been experiencing all the normal sources of grief, but added to it the loss of many other things we would have been able to have or do.”

The list of potential losses is long; lost health due to cancelled operations or medical procedures, lost celebrations like graduations, birthdays, weddings and reunions, lost incomes or workplace promotions, and some have lost homes.  Pastor Mac remarked, “We have lost the sustaining joy of family gatherings.  We have lost a social life that keeps us going, we lost relationships that could not be sustained electronically, and we lost holidays away from the regular pressures of home life.” 

"Marriages have crumbled, and we have forgotten how to be civil with each other when we disagree about how to handle this crisis," he added.  “I hope that we can name some of our losses and at least recognize before God and each other that we are coming into this season as broken people and look to him for hope."

During the service there will be a chance to sing and pray, hear scripture and a brief sermon, as well as the opportunity to light a candle that symbolizes giving sorrows over to Jesus who is the light of the world. “We worship a God who is not just comfortable in hearing our sorrow, anger or anxiety,” Pastor Mac said, “but who expects and welcomes us to give it to him.”

The service will be held at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Outlook on Tuesday, December 14 at 7:00 pm. Masks are required while in the building and those leading the service will be sure proper sanitization protocols are in place. But no matter who you are, or where you come from, God’s house is open.

“We worship a God who is the truth,” Pastor Mac shared. “He is a God who has promised to comfort us in all our sorrows. I hope that our whole community feels welcome to attend and participate.”