Since the day after Halloween we’ve been bombarded with Christmas movies, commercials, and - when we venture out - Christmas music on every store PA system. Supposedly this is the most wonderful time of the year. But for many people quite the opposite is true.
This year the Cathedral will be holding a Blue Advent prayer service on December 7 for anyone who is struggling with this season.
“It sounds cliche, but I really want to stress that it is ok not to be ok," says the Rev. Marnie Peterson adding, "It is ok to admit that this year has been tough, that we have all lost something, routines, connection with friends, jobs, loved ones.”
Marnie will preside at the Cathedral's Blue Advent service along with the Rev. Julie Lees of the Seaforth Highlanders. The Cathedral is the Highlanders' regimental church.
Though it can seem like everyone else is caught up in festive mood, Marnie says, “it's important to reach out for support, to let someone know that you are not ok or that you are feeling sad. There is no shame in acknowledging how you are feeling and important to let someone know whether it's a friend or a family member, a counselor or even the crisis centre.”
The Blue Advent service is designed to provide space to acknowledge “I’m not ok right now” in the context of prayer.
“This is a service that is specifically meant to acknowledge that not everyone is happy or looking forward to Christmas. We have tried to make space to name the various reasons that this might be a hard season and to allow time in the liturgy for people to name what they are feeling sad about or who they are missing or grieving” Marnie explains.
“There is going to be music and prayers, we will be lighting candles and our Dean, Chris Pappas will be the online chaplain for people and available on the chat during the service. We will be inviting people to add names or specific prayers into the chat during the liturgy and Chris will be paying attention to what is happening there,” she adds.
Marnie acknowledges there is no easy answer to feeling down at Christmas, and the service is not intended to “pray away the blue” but to offer a space to acknowledge that grief and sadness are also a reality of the season and “there is no shame in acknowledging that.”
The Blue Advent Service will take place Monday, December 7 at 7pm, via livestream. Tune in to watch at thecathedral.ca/live