Dear Beloved Community,
In the fall of 1994 when I was first at Epiphany as a newly ordained transitional Deacon, I offered “An Advent Service of Remembrance” during the first week of December. Having experienced several significant losses in my own family at that time made me acutely aware of how difficult the holidays would be for many parishioners at Epiphany. Each year at this time I am reminded of this great sense of loss that many of us feel whether our grief is for a loved one we lost very recently or even decades ago. There are also feelings of grief and loss associated with growing older – perhaps a sense of loss over our physical bodies no longer able to do the things we once found so easy, or an “empty nest,” or we may have retired and feel a lack of purpose in our lives. Whatever the sense of loss or grief, our feelings are real and at times we may feel out of sync with a culture that portrays families smiling around a Christmas tree laden with gifts, or gathered at a large table resplendent with candlelight and lots of festive food and drink. Everywhere we go we hear holiday music that proclaims, “Have a holly, jolly Christmas.”
Once again, on Wednesday, 18 December at 7:00pm in the Chapel, we will offer an Advent Service of Remembrance. It is a simple service of prayers, hymns, candlelight, and quiet meditation. It will be a time to remember those whom we love and see no longer, a time to gather as a community and just BE. If you know people who would might find this service comforting, please invite them to join you.
In the meantime, be gentle with yourself and your feelings during the holidays. You might give something or do something in memory of your loved one. Click here for a link to a website that contains several strategies to help cope with the holidays. Simply talking about your feelings with a close friend, family member, or one of the clergy at Epiphany can be helpful. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Sarah Conner, or Gayle Pershouse.
In this holy season of Advent, I pray that each one of us will take some time out of our busy schedules to just sit and pray, even if only for a few minutes, and offer to God whatever is on our hearts.
Faithfully yours in Christ,