Candles of Remembrance
December can be an incredibly tough time of year. Not for the people who cannot find the perfect gift for their kids. Or the individuals who cannot figure out what to ask others to get them for Christmas. Now, true, there is stress and possibly pain for these people (especially if they lost that perfect gift for their children due to a fistfight in aisle 3). But the pain is not as difficult to deal with for them as it is for someone who is spending their first Christmas without a family member.
Last night our church held our annual Candles of Remembrance service. There was time to hear songs of empathy and encouragement. There were Scriptures read that bring comfort in knowing that God is in control and that others have felt similar pain and suffering. There was a deep exploration of Romans 8.38-39, driving the idea home that there is nothing which can separate us from God (except for sin, of course). And there was an opportunity to remember each person who has passed away over the past year individually, lighting a candle and celebrating their lives together.
This service is held each year, and is spearheaded by our deacons. There are so many people at Christmas who are trying to figure out how to make it through one of the most family oriented holidays of the year with an incomplete family, that this service is a great time of healing and even closure for many. Now, you may not do something like this in your church. Or perhaps you do. But whether you do or not, please take time and special care to reach out and provide comfort for those who may be hurting as they miss a part of their family this Christmas.