Advent Service of Healing and Remembrance
We are solidly in the holiday season, and in this time our plates often become too full: programs at school and church become more numerous, visits from or to family are often planned, holiday parties and gatherings often pepper our social calendars. With this busyness often comes an extra helping of stress, too. We feel the pressure from others (or ourselves) to make everything seem perfect in our deeply imperfect world. Our homes should be immaculate and perfectly decorated. Menus for holiday gatherings should be straight from Pinterest or Instagram or our favorite cooking magazine. Our lives and relationships should be filled with love and joy without a hint of tension or worry. We want everything to be “perfect,” and this is simply not possible.
The reality for many is that these last months of the year are some of the most difficult. Celebrations of holidays and special days (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.) without a loved one can heighten their grief. Time and distance from family and friends which makes it impossible to join with them for celebrations can increase feelings of loneliness. As much as we wish it weren't so, visiting family can cause tensions to elevate in relationships and homes. The “rush, rush, rush” of holiday busyness and society’s expectations can be overwhelming, and they can heighten the stresses of lost jobs, divorces, empty nests, etc. If that weren’t enough, the shorter days and gloomier weather can also make it harder to find oneself in a “holiday mood.” With commercial messaging, and others in high spirits, it can be very difficult to admit to ourselves that there is just not as much joy this year in this season where “Joy” is on display.
In December, while the music and liturgy we use during the season of Advent may not “get us into the Christmas spirit,” it is a season of waiting, a season of longing for the peace, justice, and wholeness that come with our long-expected savior. As we have for the past few years, the Woodlands Community Presbyterian Church will be offering an Advent Service of Healing and Remembrance that recognizes the comfort, peace, and healing you might be longing for in this season. You may have heard services like this called “Longest Night,” or “Blue Christmas.” We will gather for prayer, scripture, and liturgy that speaks to our longing for light in a season that can sometimes feel quite dark. If you find yourself in need of a little extra hope this season, we hope you will join us for this service, December 18th at 6:00 pm.