This is the meditation given by the Rev. Allison Sandlin Liles at the diocesan Blue Christmas service at 7 pm on December 17, 2020.
Each of us has come here tonight bearing our own hurts or carrying the pain of others.
We may be immersed in suffering; we may be devastated by the cruelty of this year.
We may feel that we are all alone, isolated from friends, forgotten by families.
We may even feel that we are beyond the reach of God’s grace.
Yet we are here.
Even though we do not know what is to come, we are here in this space of quiet and attentiveness.
Even though we may fear the feeling that nothing can be done to change our current suffering, we are here.
Even though we are weighed down by many, many and unknown causes, we are here asking God to relieve our suffering.
We are here because we hope for a world which longs for God’s reign.
We are here for the needs of our hearts; and for those who are ill or troubled; for those who have died and those who grieve.
We are here because of the hope and peace of God’s presence. We are here asking for comfort in our despair that we may wait with hope for the fulfilling of your Word, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We are here and it is right and God is with us as we travel through this uncertainty and unknowing, just as God journeyed with Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem 2000 years ago. God always accompanies us, working through these lonely times and redeeming them so that they won’t be the end of our story.
We know the end of Mary’s story, what she couldn’t see as she entered the stable full of uncertainty. She couldn’t hear the heavenly host singing or see the shepherds leaving their flocks at night. She didn’t know the star travelled from the East leading magi with gifts for the newborn king.
Like Mary, we are too close to know the details of the end of our story. But what we do know is that we are called to hope. It is hope that brings us here tonight, knowing that tragedy will not be the end of our story. We are here because we have hope that God can and will work through our suffering, our disappointment, our loss and our heartache.
Because our God has always worked through humanity. Our God lived among us, died for us, and in dying, experienced the feeling of abandonment. And then our God rose from the grave.
Our God will not leave us in our deepest need.
We are here and it is right.