It behooves all of us to remember, as Christmas approaches, that for many there will be little that is merry about it. Forced jollity can be loaded with pain --- especially for those who for one reason or another mourn.
It can be the loss of a loved one or the collective memories of loved ones lost. Personal disasters. The state of humanity in the nation and world world around us --- consider Aleppo and the fact a majority of Americans don't know, or care, where that beleaguered city is located or how many hundreds of thousands have died since 2011 in the Syrian civil wars. Refugees. The dying and the cold, hungry and homeless close to home.
I think I'll attend this year's "Blue Christmas" service Tuesday evening, scheduled for 7 p.m. at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). A local project of the Lucas County Interchurch Council, these services --- held in churches across America --- are an attempt to acknowledge and respond to loss and grief in an interfaith manner, to light candles in the lives of those who mourn for whatever reasons.
This year's service in Chariton will take place on the longest night of the year. The winter solstice, the precise moment when in the northern hemisphere the earth turns toward the sun again and the long nights begin to shorten, occurs at 4:44 a.m. Wednesday.