December 2013

Dear Ones,

I've told many of you that this is my first holiday season without snow so I am a bit disoriented. That is certainly not a complaint, just an observation. As a colleague reminded me "you don't have to shovel sunshine!"

No matter where you find yourself this is truly a magical season. The nostalgia, the childhood mysteries, the seemingly increased generosity, and the mindset that this is a season to lay down some of our struggle and simply observe. This is a magical time of year indeed. Beyond the good memories, the excitement and anticipation, the lights strung from palm tree to palm tree, the hour of snow that is made especially for you in City Place, and in the friendly gatherings and good cheer there lies a place where this season can bring painful memories, regret, feelings of loss and depression. That place isn't quite as visible.

There have been no lights strung, it's lonely without the people we've lost or cannot be near and tears may replace gently falling snow. It remains invisible because of our need to maintain our hardy personalities and feel we would be crushing the magic of the season if we were honest. That is called a blue Christmas. It touches us all at one time or another. The same energy that brings us to excitement can also bring us to feeling dreadful.

The best way to help one another is to recognize that it is happening and others are not perhaps being a "scrooge" or a "downer". They are simply in pain and are using all of their energy to cope and to maintain a brave face. We need to remember that we are not alone and that we have resources in our Congregation to help. We have one another and you have a minister that is available when you need, to help you cross this season with some hope. We will celebrate the magic as a Congregation, but we will also be aware that some are struggling. I have no doubt that any of us wouldn't rise to the occasion to help, offer an outstretched hand and say "I know."

I wish each of you a blessed season and a new year that nurtures you, your spirit, your loved ones, and our Congregation.

Have a cool yule!

Rev. CJ



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