A few days ago I posted some pictures on Facebook of my dining room as it is decorated during this Advent season which I called “Blue Christmas.” Even though I will be away for two weeks in California for the Christmas holidays, I still wanted to decorate my apartment since I will be holding a number of holiday parties in the coming week. This year I decided to have my decorations match the decor of the rest of my apartment so I went with a blue theme.
All these years I have been conflicted about putting up Christmas decorations during Advent (just like not singing Christmas carols until Christmas Eve), but because my decorations are blue, I suppose I could consider them Advent decorations? For most of the twentieth century, the liturgical color of the Advent season was purple, the sign of royalty. However many churches now use blue, the color of hope and anticipation, but also a color associated with sadness, as in “feeling blue.” This will be my second Advent/Christmas season as a widow and I am especially missing my husband, Carl Crosier, this year.
Speaking of feeling blue, I came home from the Kona Choral Society’s performance of Messiah last Sunday night, and had to report to jury duty first thing on Monday morning. Wouldn’t you know it, not only was I selected as a juror for the trial, I was also designated foreperson! It was a criminal trial with only the prosecution presenting witnesses and evidence, and my gut feeling was that the defendant was probably guilty. However, after over eight hours of deliberation, the jury decided to acquit him because the police completely botched the crime scene, picking up evidence with bare hands, putting it back later only to take a few photographs, omitting details of the crime scene in the police report, and failing to take fingerprints or DNA samples of the evidence. I truly felt like I was the one in bondage — during the trial we on the jury had to all stay together. When we went to lunch, we were escorted in a line with a clerk at the front and the back. Someone said, “Oh, this is like preschool — shall we have a rope to hang onto so we can all stay together?” Needless to say, I spent several sleepless nights over the stress of the trial, weighing the pros and cons of the defense and prosecution (and I still haven’t recovered from my jet lag!) Last night I went to bed about 10:30 pm only to be wide awake at 12:05 am and not get back to sleep.
That was because yesterday I was assigned to design a poster for St. Andrew’s Cathedral’s Blue Christmas service which will occur on Monday, December 21st at 5:30 pm. Earlier in the evening, I decided which image I wanted to use, but all night I was experimenting with the different fonts and how I was going to lay out the design.
To tell you the truth, I really didn’t know what a Blue Christmas service was. According to one website I found, I read this: Blue? Yes, blue as in the blues. As in “I am feeling blue.” Not everyone is up and cheery for the Christmas holidays. Dealing with the death of a loved one, facing life after divorce or separation, coping with the loss of a job, living with cancer or some other disease that puts a question mark over the future, and a number of other human situations make parties and joviality painful for many people in our congregations and communities. There is a growing attentiveness to the needs of people who are blue at Christmas. Increasing numbers of churches are creating sacred space for people living through dark times. Such services are reflective, accepting where we really are, and holding out healing and hope.
The description on the poster I designed reads: “Through music, silent meditation, scripture, and healing prayer, we reach out to acknowledge sadness with comfort and quiet remembrance, to reflect on the losses we have experienced and to remember together, whatever our spiritual path, the real reason for the season: that we are not alone, and that light will come again.”
I’m told this service is well-attended; unfortunately I’ll be on the plane to California at that time.