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

Daydream is over; GOP must work with Democrats on ACA fix

Editorial: The Senate should end its latest ACA repeal effort and continue bipartisan talks.

Editorial cartoons for Sunday, Sept. 24

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

Viewpoints: Who’s going to clean up Equifax’s mess?

You are, for starters. But there are things that credit agencies could do to secure your data.

Commentary: Include employee profit-sharing in tax reform

Tying corporate tax reform to profit-sharing would provide a fairer share for the middle class.

Commentary: Give retail marijuana balanced consideration

Retail sale of cannabis is up to Snohomish voters, and there are reasons to support it.

Robinson: The GOP’s health care proposals keep getting worse

It’s hard to find anyone who knows anything about health insurance who likes this monstrous creation.

Will: America’s engine is being slowed by complacency

The Great Enrichment is being superseded by the Great Flinch, a recoil against friction and change.

Parker: 25 years later, woman’s disappearance fresh in mind

Over the years, the work to find Dail Dinwiddie evolved into efforts to find and protect others.

Keillor: Voices in unison sing out our desire for common good

When you stand in a crowd and sing, it does pull people together.

Most Read