imgresMy dear friends,

This is the time of the year when many are expecting to feel joy be that because of their celebration of Hanukah or Christmas or winter holiday, or connecting with family and friends.  And while the festive seasons are almost here, raising the stress that is already being felt because of personal situations (health, financial, relational) and recent political machinations, people are hurting and it’s difficult to feel the joy that Christmas, Hanukkuh, Kwaanza, Solstice usually bring.

Many aren’t able to tap into any sense of hope or peace because of personal loss of a loved one or finances, employment, housing – whatever … or because of the fear that seems to be increasing around the world.

If you are someone for whom peace, hope, joy are elusive, perhaps something I put together several years ago will bring you comfort. It is below.  

Before you begin, I encourage you to find some candles and matches.   You might find a particular colour “fits” for you e.g. royal blue is the colour of hope; white is the colour of wholeness; red is the colour of Spirit; green is the colour of new life.

As each candle is lit (hopefully in a darkened or semi-darkened room to get the effect of the light emanating from the candle), you may want to have some quiet music playing in the background or simply be in silence.  Choose a time and place when tv, children/family/friends, loud music, electronic devices would not be a distraction.

Speak / think / pray each phrase slowly, reflectively. There is no need to hurry. This is your time.  Take the time to “be” in the moment.   To begin … take a few slow, deep breaths from your abdomen, inhaling a sense of peace and exhaling that which brings anxiety. When you find your breathing has slowed down …

MAKING TIME TO MOURN aka (Blue Christmas) Liturgy for Individuals Who Grieve/Are Hurting

AN ASIDE: Light four candles individually (see below).
<Royal blue is the colour of hope, peace and tranquility
and seems to resonate the most for people who have used this liturgy.
Other colours can be selected for their symbolic meaning,
or because you have certain candles you can use
or because you just like candles and their colour is immaterial to you.
Some other colour-symbols if you don’t want to go with royal blue candles.
Red is the colour of Spirit.  Green is the colour of new life;
Purple is the colour of spirituality.  White is the colour of wholeness.

As you move through the liturgy, I encourage you to
– be in a darkened or semi-darkened room to get the effect of the light emanating from the candle
– have some quiet music in the bg or silence (but not have the tv or loud music)
– do this liturgy at a time when children/family/friends could make demands on you).
– light each candle individually
– take your time between lighting each candle.

Light first candle and say slowly and quietly:
I light this candle to remember those persons who have been loved and lost this past year
and in years long ago.
I  pause to remember their name … their face … their voice.
(Give yourself time to do this.)

I give thanks for the memory that binds them to me at this difficult time.
(Give yourself time to do this) 

May Eternal Love surround them.

            [Silent time for reflection] 

Light second candle and say slowly and quietly.
I  light this second candle to redeem … the pain of loss … the loss of relationships
… the loss of employment … the loss of health.

(Give yourself time to think of each relationship/most current – whatever you are experiencing as ‘loss’ at this time.) 

As I  gather up the pain of the past, I offer it, asking that into my open hands the gift of peace …
of shalom … of wholeness be placed.
 (Give yourself time to do this)  

May I be refreshed, restored and renewed

              [Silent time for reflection]

Light third candle and say slowly and quietly.

I light this third candle to remember myself.
I pause and remember the past weeks, months (years) … the down times … the poignancy of memories
… the grief … the sadness … the hurts … the fear … the pain of reflecting on my own mortality.
(Give yourself time to do this and simply be-ing.)  

May I remember that dawn defeats darkness.
May  I remember the words written on a wall at Dachau prison —
“I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining;
I believe in the stars even when I see them not;
I believe in God even when I don’t see God.”

      [Silent time of reflection]

Light fourth candle and say slowly and quietly.

I light this fourth candle to remember the gift of hope.
I lean on the Holy One who shares my life, promises a place and time
of no more pain and suffering
and who loves unconditionally
(Give yourself time to do this – or substitute any phrasing that will be meaningful for you). 

May I not forget the One who shows the way and Who goes with me into my tomorrows.

 [Silent time of reflection]

 Amen.  So be it.  Amen.  (all “Amen” means is “So be it.”)

The Liturgy is come to a close.
You may want to consider spending time in the darkness
looking at the lit candles
listening to some gentle music
… or soaking in a hot bath
or sipping a hot cup of tea or hot chocolate
and know that there are people who care.


Text (Liturgy) © june maffin


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