As I read part of psalm 139 this morning, this verse arrested me, and provoked questions -
how would a woman who had aborted a baby respond to these words?
do the people strongly advocating for women not to abort really think God doesn't see the whole woman who has conceived? do they really think there is only one life - the unborn life - at stake in those situations?
Then the Christmas story we're about to live and tell again came to mind -
how do women who have aborted or lost a baby during pregnancy or childbirth respond to the story of Mary's conception & giving birth?
And, inevitably, the broader questions of storytelling -
how do we make room for the 'underside' of the stories we tell?
do we make room in the cycle of our telling for the underside stories? the difficult stories?
I am grateful to those who initiated services of solace, or blue Christmas services - for these do create space in which we can acknowledge and tell the stories of pain and hurt and grieving amongst a season of sometimes quite loud and overbearing calls to joy and singing.
Following a wandering train of thought - I then reflect on how it is interesting to me that a partnership has emerged between Belair Uniting, Blackwood Uniting and Blackwood Church of Christ for the contemplative, difficult storytelling at Easter and Christmas. We come together for Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Blue Christmas, each congregation hosting one of the three each year. Sometimes it seems easier to gather together for the joyful celebrations. We come together to remember Christ's suffering, and our own, in the seasons of the telling of the central stories of our faith tradition - the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
If you are finding it difficult to celebrate joyfully this Christmas, or need space to acknowledge the underside stories of loss and grieving, I encourage you to find a service of solace in your area.
Blue Christmas / Service of Solace - Belair Uniting Church (18 Sheoak Rd), Thursday 15 December, 8 pm