December 17, 2014
by: Andrew Harris

On Monday Night, about 10 of us gathered for a Blue Christmas service that I didn’t even know I needed. I mean, I knew that I needed to be there and that I needed to deliver the pastoral reflection, but I didn’t know then that I needed the spirit and the fellowship of the people in that room. And there must be more people out there who, like me, don’t yet know that they need to hear this message; people whose lives feel like they are filled with rushing from work to the mall to the grocery store to a party; people who do not have the time or space to give thought or prayer to those other feelings stirring in our hearts at this time of year; people to whom hope and joy have lost some of their meaning in the thrum of the constant choruses. I thought I might share a little bit of the message, because you might need it too, and you don’t even know it.

Basically, there are two fundamental and universal aspects of human sorrow and suffering. One is the fear of being alone in the world and the other is the need to be heard, recognized, and validated as an individual. When we experience loss—whether we lose a job, a loved one, a dream, innocence, faith—these opposing forces compound upon one another. Loss heightens our sense of isolation and abandonment. It causes us to lose ourselves in doubt because no one can understand what you’re going through; no one seems to be able to hear your cries or feel your pain. At some point, all of us have felt alone, abandoned and unheard, like an infant crying in a crib.

But we have heard the good news. You are never alone in God. You are encompassed and embraced; surrounded always in the very fabric of everything and everyone. And you are an essential part of that fabric of all things, because with out you— all of you— it would not be everything, and it would therefore not be God. You are completely contingent upon God and God is completely contingent upon you. God is your companion and filler of empty spaces. God cherishes and holds every part of you including your sadness and sorrow and doubt and insecurity. God hears your cries, feels your pain, and loves you wholly and unequivocally.

And so it seems fitting that according to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus Christ is born while his parents are traveling to take part in a census. They journey from alien lands, rural isolated places, to the town of their birth. They come to be counted, to be uniquely and individually recognized as a part of the whole, as we today come together in Christ’s name. We come together and find that we are not alone. We come together and we are heard and held in love and compassion. God invites us to come with all our sorrows and burdens. Come, and find peace in God. Amen.