Whatever color, Christmas light keeps shining | Interfaith | Dec. 9

Christmas comes in many colors. There is Black Friday for shopping. We will sing about silver bells and red-nosed reindeers, and white Christmas snows.

Many of us are meant to be green with envy over possible gifts we could receive or purchase and all are urged to take our credit cards into the red to make it a Jolly Christmas.

But others will be mostly blue for Christmas, blue because of worry over hard economic times, blue for the losses of our lives, and blue because the reality we live is never quite the expected jollity of advertising and media hype.

Elvis sang about a “Blue Christmas” because of lost love but many of us will face Christmas with blue memories and sad hearts for a myriad of reasons.

Those of us in the helping profession learn early that all holidays bring mixed emotions for people, and not everyone finds Christmas to be merry or the holidays to be happy. Many people retreat into depression, abuse alcohol or drugs, or simply try to shut out all that enforced hilarity that fills our airwaves and plagues their hearts.

So, at Saint Barnabas, we will be wearing blue for Advent as part of our preparation for Christmas. But we wear blue not just to remind us that, for some, this is not a time of unrestrained joy but rather a time of sorrow and loss.

We wear blue to show love and support for those who feel so little of it in their lives. We wear blue to remind ourselves that there is still great poverty, great want, and far too little peace for so many in the world.

We will wear blue in solidarity for the lost, the marginalized, and the forgotten. We will wear blue as Mother Teresa wore blue, finding our Calcutta as she found hers.

But, we will also wear blue to remind us of that improbable story of a young woman who said “yes” to God. We will wear blue to remind us that there is a way forward, that promises will be kept, and that hope never dies. We will wear blue to remind ourselves that others have faced great difficulties in their day and that far too few Christmases have occurred in times of peace and plenty.

But they all celebrated this long-expected yet still-surprising event. So unlike what the world calls great moments, they celebrated as we celebrate the ordinary but yet astonishing birth of a child.

The world is not only what we see and know; there is still great mystery to marvel over; there is still greatness to come. Christmas comes in many colors; Christmas bears many faces.

The light comes; let us rejoice; God reaches out to us through the arms of a baby.

The Rev. Dr. Dennis S. Tierney is pastor of the Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island.

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