Last year around this time, I wrote an entry called Blue Christmas...Before Thanksgiving. The other week, this entry flowed back into my consciousness as I began to think about readings that would be fitting to read during our Blue Christmas service. Last year I used parts of a RealLivePreacher essay and an excerpt from the GalPals' Advent book (so needless to say, the blogosphere has been very helpful in putting together this service). I try to hit a multitiude of themes during this service, because it's not just grief that arises during the holidays...it can be stress, or the reminder of how financially limited you are, or loneliness, or doubt. I like looking for essays that touch on these other themes.
So I was reminded of my Blue Christmas essay from just before Thanksgiving, and I remembered the circumstances surrounding it: our church had two people die in the same week, I was just beginning to feel the most incredulous about holiday commercialization that I've ever felt, and because I had been so close to celebrating my first complete year of ministry I wanted to see a light dusting of snow over the field behind my house. We tend to get our first sticky snow right before Thanksgiving where we are, so I was ready for it.
I woke up this morning, and even before I got up I thought to myself, "It'd be really cool to see that light dusting today." And sure enough, it was there. It's been a comfort to me this morning, not because I'm needing any special comfort (other than a slight cold), but just because it's a comforting scene in itself. And once again, it reminded me of my reflection from last year. Even when I lived in St. Louis, I was close to an open area where I could wake up to such a scene.
We did make our first trip to the mall last night as well. We didn't buy anything other than some coffee drinks. I made a few remarks about how Northeast Ohio stores sell an abundance of Pittsburgh Steelers stuff (the Browns' big rivals even though Cleveland usually gets slaughtered), but Michigan stuff is still harder to find. Stores hate Michigan or they hate money, or both. There are plenty of us living around here.
Of course, while there wasn't much Michigan merchandise to be found, the Christmas stuff was up already. They had already decked the halls with all sorts of bells and trees and angels and snowmen and Santa's big chair and camera. The funk that it all put me in last year hasn't kicked in yet, probably because there weren't enough people bumping around me. If the place had been harder to maneuver around, my crankiness probably would've started in 5th gear. I tend to keep my arms at my sides in big crowds, not only so it's easy to get around, but so I don't punch anybody. It's not agoraphobia...I'm not afraid of them. I just want them to stop running into me or hitting me with their bags or talking on their cellphones while running into me and hitting me with their bags.
So it's a similar morning thanks to the snow. I really do like the holiday season. I don't like it when it gets mangled and twisted and manipulated. That's what makes it blue for me. Hopefully that can be avoided this year. Still, maybe my entry from last year will name that same anxiety for others, which is why I'm including it in our service. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the rest of my slightly snowy morning.