Sunday, December 9, 2018

Alone in the Clamour

Joyce Sasse - My friend, normally a faithful chorister and church attender, absolutely hated attending the Christmas Eve Candle Light Service. Her complaint? In her city congregation the tradition was for individuals to walk to the front in family clusters to light their candles. It meant she had to walk down the central aisle of the church alone. This careless oversight caused pain.

That memory makes me remember others for whom the thoughtless clamour of Christmas exposes too many to feelings of vulnerability.

The emptiness from no longer enjoying the presence of a parent, a spouse, a loved one … leaves one feeling subdued and exposed.  Names crossed off our phone or Christmas card list reminds us of a creeping void in our lives.

Some experience pain by way of abuse, excesses caused by gambling or drugs, or agendas we try to keep hidden.

Might the secret for getting through the season be to stop trying to hide bruised bodies and spirits? Instead of asking “Why has God caused me such pain?”, ask “What needs to be done to get through the days ahead?”

The Church calls this the “Season of Advent”, a time of preparation so we’ll be more ready to affirm God’s coming among us.

We can’t stop others from getting caught up in the commercialized frenzy of hustle and bustle, glitz and glamour, shopping and having parties for every excuse under the sun. But we can think through how we might acknowledge the loss of that loved one. We can cherish the fact we’ve had the privilege of sharing memories with those now gone that have enriched our lives – and seek how to keep reaching out to others whose lives we can touch.

My friend talked with her church folk about how she felt - and her suggestions resulted in changes that many appreciated.

I think of the spirit of the man who posted an announcement on a local bulletin board. “Wanted, one family to share Christmas. I’ll supply the turkey.”

The love of God enfolds us. We need to be ready to receive it. Remember - “Light enters through the cracks (in our lives)!”

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