This is a call to worship for those for whom this christmas comes at too much of a cost:

It takes faith beyond imagining
to have come to hear this story
if you are living things too difficult
to be made sense of
by an ancient memory of angels and wise men.

It takes faith beyond imagining
to have come to hear this story
when you know that it will be a greater miracle
than any virgin birth
for love to be born right now in our world.

The alleluias we sing today
will not be to drown out the world’s truths that would deny them;
but to pray they will hold us in their faith.

So we gather
the bewildered, the broken hearted, the fragile and the hopeful
the faithful and the faithless
because all we have left when we stand in the world’s darkness
is this longing for love to be born once again.

While I love the practice, I’ve always found it slightly bemusing that many churches do Blue Christmas services in the lead up to christmas, as though to get the sadness out of the way before we can focus on the main event. If a christmas message doesn’t speak into grief and fear and loneliness, then it’s not that true to the christian story of christmas…

After the weekend, though, i keep thinking that maybe the only possible response to the horrors unfolding in the world is silence; praying that love will be born in the impossible situations and places.

If you, like me, watched the news this weekend feeling helpless, and wondering how people in Connecticut [and China, Palestine, Syria, Samoa etc, etc] can ever learn to live again, then you might think about donating time or money to groups that are supporting people who have lived through deep trauma – like Foundation House, for example [other similar organisations can be found here].

We don’t understand how people end up committing atrocious acts of violence. We do know that there are some mental illnesses that leave people much more vulnerable to being violent towards others and themselves. We also know that mental health services, especially critical care services, are in desperately short supply. While Australia is a world leader in progressive mental health policy, we come up very short on deliverables. This seems like a good time to write to local and federal mp’s, and ask them to champion a bi-partisan approach to mental health; to make it a top government priority.

And if this next week is unbearably sad and lonely for you, may love be born into your darkest places. And if you stumble across alleluias, may they hold you in their faith.