“Christmas can make our wounds bleed. But the journey isn’t over. God isn’t done. He still has things left for you to do. And you will heal.”
“A small branch in the Winter looks dry, gray, dead. From all appearances, it has no life. And yet, inside of it there is life. It is surging with life just waiting to explode out when the warm sun arrives in Spring.”
“You are in the Winter of life. But Winter is followed by Spring, and then Summer, and Fall. And, yes, there will be other Winters in your life. God has created seasons of life. Sometimes it is cold, desolate, and difficult. Other times, it is warm, sunny, and happy. Rest assured that the seasons of God are meant for our wellness. Because he loves us.”
– – – – –
swaddles the long evenings
with comforting covers of stillness,
greets the brightness of the waxing moon,
fills the clear royal blue sky
with brilliant patterns of shining stars,
applauds the vigor of determined dawns,
receives the bowed head of setting sun.
– – – – –
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
God have mercy on me. Help me accept my brokenness, emptiness, and need for you.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Lord, grant me grace to trust you and drop my defenses, be approachable, kind, merciful, and appropriately assertive.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Help me love you above all else. Purge my soul of all polluted affections, habits, and rebellions.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Enable me to forgive as generously and consistently as you, Lord, forgive me.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Lord, I ask for a pure, clean, uncluttered heart. I long to see your face, that there would be nothing between you and me.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Lord, fill me with courage to disrupt false peace around me when needed. Give me wisdom and prudence to be a true peacemaker.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Lord, fill me with courage to speak and live the truth, even when it is not popular or convenient.
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality
by Peter Scazzero
– – – – –
One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
– – – – –
I attended a Blue Christmas service on Wed night at Charles Wesley UMC in McLean. It was quiet, calm, and comfortable. The organizers and reverend were gentle and kind and made us feel, even in our hurt, like we were special and still had much to live for. Some beautiful music was presented – It Is Well With My Soul and I Will Not Leave You Comfortless particularly stands out in my mind. Scripture was read. Some selected pieces of poetry were read. Response readings were done. A kind person presented her “Reflections” on Christmases past when she was experiencing difficulty in her life. Some of the words and readings are listed above.
We held our small twigs and considered how God can use a small, gray, almost-dead-looking thing to bring new life when the sun is warm again. We were each prayed over, by name, and anointed with oil – this was very special and meaningful to me. One candle was lit from which, then, we each lit our smaller candles in memory of our lost ones. In lighting our candles, we were reminded to never lose our memories but, also, to not let our memories hold us back from moving forward. God isn’t done, yet, and he needs us with him.
After a closing prayer, we were dismissed in silence. In the foyer, we each received a hug and a whispered blessing from the officiant. A very nice and special evening. For me.