Don’t let Christmas go by the wayside

Julie’s morning column, “Churches try to take the blues out of the holidays,” was being enjoyed while the very secular NPR was addressing a similar theme of “Blue Christmas/Longest Night/Winter Solstice” music of the season. For various reasons (the lost, the lone; the lonely and the deeply grieving), an opportunity to acknowledge the attendant emotions and threats to any hope remaining is important. The opportunities presented at various churches are commendable.

I’d like to also recommend to the larger Christian church community another important commemorative day that has fallen by the wayside in many parts of the secular and religious world: Dec. 25. During my seminary internship decades ago in Minneapolis, the late Dr. Paul Youngdahl of Mount Olivet Lutheran congregation made it a point to share the importance not only of Christmas Eve, but Christmas Day, as well. While even then it was becoming the practice to pull out all of the stops the evening before; Mount Olivet opened its door wide the next morning, also.

“For many,” my mentor taught, “this is the only positive place and experience happening today. Why not observe in a thoughtful, more contemplative way the Word Made Flesh bringing hope and light into this world’s many forms of darkness?”

So, for almost 40 Christmas Days since, my family has been more than gracious in delaying our own gatherings until later in the day … on The Day. Somewhere in the liturgy of morning, the English equivalent of the Latin, “Sursum Corda,” will again be spoken (this year at Prince of Peace Lutheran in Eastmont/Everett) at 10 a.m. Literally, it is an invitation (in spite of all that is awful), to “Lift up our hearts.”

The gathered response for some 19-plus centuries has always been: “We lift them unto the Lord.” Not because we are always “merry” or “happy” as the shallow greetings can become, but because there is a Hope that will ultimately triumph … even in our bluest, darkest hour.” (John 1:1-5)

Have a Blessed Christmas Day and Season!

Rev. Jack Richards

Everett

More in Opinion

Editorial cartoons for Friday, Jan. 19

A sketchy look at the day in politics.… Continue reading

Editorial: Help community colleges meet job training needs

Lost in the focus on K-12 school funding, have been the needs of community and technical colleges.

Ignatius: How military trains to let others do the fighting

The struggle for the U.S. military has been to accept letting other nations fight their own battles.

Milbank: Trump’s fine, but his Trumpism may be contagious

Trump may be in ‘excellent’ health, but has the White House doctor contracted his hyperbolic style.

Harrop: Immigration won’t get a fix because GOP doesn’t want it

Trump and Republicans in Congress prefer the status quo and their ability to use it politically.

County needs to plan better to prevent sprawl

Thank you for printing the commentary by Tom Campbell (“Time is now… Continue reading

This is how a stable president acts?

While claiming mental stability along with intellectual “genius” status, President Trump shows… Continue reading

Even a ‘limited’ nuclear war would be devastating

I wish to second the thoughts in the Jan. 12 letter to… Continue reading

Editorial cartoons for Thursday, Jan. 18

A sketchy look at the day in politics.… Continue reading

Most Read