Christmas is nearly here. The season of stress, missed deliveries and lost parcels. The worry about overspending, unwanted gifts, and what to buy the person who doesn’t want anything except the things you can’t afford. Wondering where to go, who to share the day with. Shall I make the journey to see family or shall I stay buried under the duvet? Should I commit to go even though I don’t want to, then hope for the flu as an excuse not to go?
Or maybe you’re one of the fortunate ones who looks forward to Christmas, enjoys every tradition and festive bite, loves every movie re-run, (especially the sound of music), laughs at every cracker joke, and is able to share it all with a warm loving family. If so I will wish you a very merry Christmas. But if you’re one of the many who every year endure a blue Christmas, then you’re not alone.
Being bipolar I’ve endured a blue Christmas once or twice over the years. But I’ve also found a few things that have made them easier. A project of some kind is invariably a help, and I love our Christmas Celebration Service at church. A big part of me would prefer some peace and quiet, (I’m introvert by nature), but there’s something cathartic and infectious about holding a Celebration. When I’m singing I get to step outside of myself. When I’m involved in bringing an event together then others become my focus. For a moment a light shines in the darkness, whether I want it to or not. God’s presence in the silliness, as well as the Glory, connects me to the joy of Christmas.
Of course there’s still down days and I hate it when someone sees it as their duty to cheer me up. I hate it when I’m seen as a killjoy instead of unwell. There are moments when I just simply need to be on my own and I’m forever thankful to those people who understand that and allow me to have my space when I need it.
Nobody actually knows what date Jesus was born, but I’m grateful that the traditions and links to even older festivals has placed Christmas is in the middle of winter. I’m grateful that in the depths of the darkest days of the year there is a glimmer of light, and the promise of spring. Bringing greenery into the house, and celebrating new life, are both about the promise of better things to come. And Christmas is a reminder that God is as much a part of our dark days as God is a part of our light-filled days.
In Psalm 139: 12 the Psalmist speaks to God:
“even darkness is not dark for you, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same to you.”
It’s a reminder that regardless of whether this season is a joy for me, or a depressing time of year for me, that God is in the middle of it. Whether I see it as light or dark, colour or shadow, a pleasure or an annoyance, God is in the middle of it. Whether I’m in a good space or a bad space, with friends or alone, feeling happy or feeling miserable, God is in the middle of it. It’s the story of Jesus, a baby born into the middle of a world rich with delight and steeped in sorrow. In the middle of all of this, the word’s story or my story, God is present. It’s the ultimate gift.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and that God blesses your every day throughout 2019.
CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION SERVICE
Come along to our Christmas celebration service! Sunday 23rd December, 6pm. And if you’d like to sing a song, or read a humorous piece of prose, then please let me know asap so I can include you. We’d love to have you along!
December – Christmas!
January – Stewardship
February – LGBT History Month
March – Women’s History Month
April – Easter
May – Mental Health Awareness
June – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Thomas
July – Pride
August – MCC Global
September – Interfaith
October – Creation Spirituality
November – Who are we?
December – Advent journey (from the lectionary)
|LGBTQI and FAITH
PROJECT run by
Are you LGBTQI+ and identify as having a faith, religion or spirituality? Do you live, work, study, or socialise in Brighton and Hove? If so, Switchboard would love to hear from you through their focus group and survey to learn about the experiences of LGBTQI+ people of faith, religion and spirituality when it comes to feeling safe and included in your local communities.
Their Health and Inclusion Project is carrying out this engagement on behalf of Brighton & Hove City Council to learn how local services can better serve LGBTQI+ people of faith, so your voice will really make a difference.
Click the link on the left to find out more!
Advent Prayer by Henri J.M. Nouwen [edited]
Source and Ruler of both the light and the darkness, Send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas. We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kin-dom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!” Amen.