Sunday, December 21, 2014

Almost here

Well, it's almost here.


What a busy season. Lots of excitement and anticipation of wonder and wonderful things. I'm excited about our fast approaching Christmas Eve program. It promises to be a beautiful, blessed event, and I invite you all to come join in the story and the music.

Christmas Eve Service at Bethel
 Music and Candlelight
7pm Wednesday December 24th, 2014
Bethel Congregational Church, UCC 
536 N Euclid Ave, Ontario, CA 91762


Christmas  -  along with many traditions nd other winter holidays: 
Las Posadas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Dewali, Winter Solstice.

 Busy. Exciting. Anticipatory.  

What an exhausting time.

It's been a challenging season for many. On the surface, it's a season of celebration and joy. But whether because of personal loss, grief, illness, injury, financial challenges, job loss, or just the difficult tasks of everyday living, the holiday season is often not all happiness and light. It is often a stressful, difficult time.

And yet, we persevere. We hope. We live. We share. We seek the light. 
And the light seeks us.

The challenge is to embrace the hope and the light, and then, be it and share it.

Share it in a very real and tangible way.

Not just by posting cute kittens and puppies on Facebook (but please do - it may brighten someone's day!). But also by living that light and love in out communities. One on one. One person at a time. Help someone. Whether you know them or not.

Help someone. 
Even small things count.
A cup of water. A quarter. Maybe a dollar. 
Some gas. A room for the night. A coat. A bowl of soup.
Help someone fix something, or clean something.
Give of your time.
Forgive a debt, or an offense.
Apologize to someone if you have wronged them.
Accept someone's apology.
Pay back a debt.
Say "Thank-you" to someone who helps you, and mean it.
Accept someone.
Believe in someone, and tell them so.

If you are one of the "lucky ones", one of the blessed, share your blessings. That's how blessings (and people) grow.

Along these lines, I recently came across this poem, "Blue Christmas", published at

I close today as I share with you here the entire entry from the page referenced above. 

Here is the text from the daily devotional page "A Blue Christmas Poem", with an introduction by John Stuart. 

Psalm 42:5-6a – Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God. (NIV)

"Christmas can be a painful and lonely time for some people. At our candlelight service, we light a Blue Christmas candle for those who are grieving, hurting, or ill during the festive season. This poem is recited as the blue candle is lit. It's a very meaningful and emotional time for some members in our congregation." ...John Stuart

      A Blue Christmas Poem
    There's no room at Christmas for sadness,
    There's no place for hearts that are blue.
    All the world wants to hear
    Is a word full of cheer,
    Not a sigh, not a tear, not from you.

    There's no room at Christmas for loneliness,
    There's no place for your emptiness and grief.
    All the world wants is peace,
    Mistletoe and Christmas trees,
    Not a heartache that mars its beliefs.

    There's no room at Christmas for sickness,
    There's no place or time to be ill.
    All the world wants is health,
    Prosperity and wealth,
    Not a pain that can spoil its goodwill.

    There's no room at Christmas for Jesus,
    There's no place for His family, too,
    All the world would not share,
    No one seems to really care,
    A stable will just have to do.

    Yes, there's room at Christmas for sadness,
    There's a place in God's heart for you.
    For He knows pain and loss,
    Which He felt on the cross,
    So this candle is lit here for you…
    For Christ knows what it's like to be blue.