If there was ever a year for a blue Christmas, this is the year. Many of us have been challenged by external struggles with the chaos that we see in our world and in our nation. But then that conflict has also been internal, between family members and communities and at times even inside our own selves.
And as our anxious minds are apt to do, we begin to worry about what could happen next . . .
Anxiety is very future-oriented, often filling the blank canvas of the future with frightening images, painting and painting and filling in the space with more and more worry. But then, after a good exploration of the light/color/texture of these anxieties, … a deep tiredness settles in.
Clinically, Generalized Anxiety Disorder includes “restlessness” and “fatigue” in the list of symptoms. Our body’s systems often physically feel anxious with an increased heart rate, tight muscles, and held breath. These physical reactions are preparing for a threat, real or imagined. But all this physical anxiety also wears on your body … and your soul.
If there were ever a year to give ourselves the space for a Blue Christmas service in our churches, this year is it.
The “Service of the Longest Night” or “Blue Christmas” is usually held on the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year by the amount of night versus the amount of day (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere). This date is typically around December 21, which is also the feast day of Thomas, the disciple, the one who was known for doubting the resurrection of Jesus.
Those who “celebrate” this service will often read psalms of lament such as Psalm 6 which express our bone-deep tiredness and grief.