I am currently wearing the most ridiculous Christmas sweater you have ever seen and my car has a red nose and antlers affixed to it.  My dog is wearing a Christmas bandana around his neck.  My house is beautifully lit up inside and out with hundreds of white lights and we have two Christmas trees covered with ornaments.  Under one of the trees, there are packages wrapped and ready to be opened by my precious family on Christmas morning.  There is no doubt that it is Christmas.

Yet, on the first Sunday of Advent, my father finally lost his battle, and I believe finally won the war, against the darkness that haunted him all his life.  I sang Christmas carols and ate a wonderful meal today with my homeless friends who, in spite of the fact it is Christmas, will still sleep in the woods or a hypothermia shelter tonight, wondering what tomorrow will bring.  Uncertainty about jobs and finances are keeping many of my friends awake at night wondering if they will have what they need to provide for their families in 2009.  Even amidst the sparkling lights, there is still so much darkness left through which we must find our way.

I have referred you to my blogging friend Milton’s blog before.  Tonight, I had some time to visit his blog and I was struck by this post about a service they had at their church this week.  His wife Ginger is the pastor of their church and they had a service which he described in the following way:   “Each of us entered and found a seat with room for the sorrow we had brought with us and we sang and prayed and talked about who and what had been lost this year. Tonight we had our Blue Christmas.”  I encourage you to read the whole post, but I was moved to tears when he recounted the lyrics to the song that he sang at the service.  The whole post is beautiful and real and both broke my heart and mended it at the same time.  Here is a video of the song he sang.  The voice you hear in this video is the man who wrote it, Warren Zevon, before his death shortly afterwards.

Milton ended his post with these words that rang so true for me…”We have all lost and we are found when we share the sorrow and keep each other close.”