It is hard to believe that Christmas is less than two weeks away. For some the holidays are filled with magic and happy times. For others this is not necessarily true. Death, divorce, family far away or family estrangement as well as feelings of perfection can crowd in and really affect our moods. This year St. Thomas will again have a Blue Christmas service December 21st at 7pm. It is a time when we can come together and realize that we are not alone and also that there is a place to feel those less than Christmas feelings.
It is a quiet service of scripture, prayer, music and readings. Over the years as one who has been less than joyful at Christmas time, I have found great comfort in the quiet and contemplation. If you have not been to a Blue Christmas service I highly recommend it, even if it is just to pause and spend time in silence with other people who feel as you do. I have been leading Blue Christmas services over the past ten years and people have been grateful to be able to share how they really feel and not put on a happy face all the time.
What I love is how the readings and prayers give comfort at a time when I am less than comfortable. Please join us if you are in the area-all are welcome.
An infamous day
Today we remember those who lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Seventy five years ago our peace was shattered by an unprovoked attack on our country by the Japanese. We were in shock and the British were quietly happy. Winston Churchill was said to have remarked that after the attack it was the best night's sleep he had had in years. America would now enter the war and peace would eventually be restored. The long nightmare of tyranny and the pursuit of world domination would cease.
I remember visiting the memorial in Pearl Harbor and watching in horror the movie of that day. The closing words of the film ''How shall we remember them, those who died? Mourn the dead. Remember the battle. Understand the tragedy. Honor the memory'' brought tears to my eyes. Believe me I am not one to be overwhelmed by sentimentality but those words hit a nerve. Standing in a tropical paradise on a warm, sunny day in the hush of the memorial one could not helped but me moved by what was beneath our feet. The harbor still weeps. Drops of oil from the sunken Arizona rise to the harbor's surface bearing witness to that horrible day.
Today we mourn yet give thanks for those brave men and women who served our country. The number of veterans left to tell the story has become a mere handful and now more than ever the narrator's words become more urgent to understand the tragedy so as not to have it happen again.
Before we are bombarded with football, food and commercials for Black Friday sales let's pause to remember all of the blessings God has bestowed upon us. We have family or have made our own families from friends and neighbors. We are free to worship our faith. We are thankful for living in a country where we can voice our opinions and disagree agreeably with one another. We are free to pursue our dreams knowing that the limits are those we place upon ourselves.
We also understand that there are those in our country who suffer from poverty, sickness, broken families and broken lives. As people of faith, we reach out to them and extend the hand of hope and friendship that others cannot or will not extend. We welcome everyone into our church and hope they too find solace, challenge and friendship at St. Thomas. Draw the circle wide. No one stands alone, we’ll stand side by side. Draw the circle wide, draw it wider still. Let this be our song; no one stands alone. Is the hymn and this the belief indeed the very core of who we are as people of faith and believers in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As we turn our faces to Advent let our hearts and minds remember that we draw the circle wide in Bath, NC-come join us!