We are never sure who might come, how many people might be there or what might happen at each service we hold at Chaplains on the Way. From what our community members tell us, we know there is a need and yearning for worship especially around the holidays. This year we once again held a Blue Christmas Service to recognize that the holidays are not always joyful and bright. Our service allowed the community gather and remember people who are missing from our lives and come just as we are: sad, hopeful, lonely, isolated, and yearning for something different.
As we sat around the tables, draped in red table clothes with greenery and candles scattered around; community members began to drop in. At first a few, then one or two more, and then seats began filling up around the tables. We had anticipated maybe half-dozen or so community members, however more people kept coming. Once all the preset seat were filled, we began pulling up extra chairs squeezing an individual in beside and around one another. The table was overflowing with a yearning to be a part of the circle.
During the service everyone had an opportunity to speak, reflect and remember. We lit candles in honor of loved ones who have died or for whom we are separated from, and shared stories. Stories which were reminders of: how hard it is sleeping outside in the cold, missing an estranged mother who is in a nursing home just down the road, faith and belief, an abusive childhood, and faith. All of these sacred stories were given a place and a voice at Blue Christmas. And whether knowingly or unknowingly, these sacred stories connected each of us on a deeper and more spiritual level.
It is connection which is at the heart of Chaplains on the Way. As we always say, hope is found in hearts connected. This Blue Christmas it was through our sacred story sharing that hearts were connected. After all we each have a sacred story and it can only become more holy when we share and connect through it.