Embracing a Blue Christmas in Arizona

Rev. Derrick Elliott, Pastor, Sun Lakes United Church of Christ

In the heart of Arizona, the festive season casts a unique light on the grand tapestry of the desert. While the song “Blue Christmas” might evoke a sense of reflective yearning amidst the holiday cheer, it also serves as a reminder that this season encompasses a full range of emotions. This time of reflection, against the backdrop of the desert’s serenity, calls for a deeper understanding of the quiet moments that the song so tenderly expresses.

The Blue Christmas tradition, observed on the longest night of the year, finds its place in the pastoral heart of Arizona, acknowledging the feelings of those who experience the blues during the bustle of December. It’s a tradition that honors the journey from darkness into the hopeful light, a biblical echo from the passages of Isaiah and the narratives surrounding Christ’s humble birth (Isaiah 9:2, Luke 2:8-14).

Amidst the clear, starry nights reminiscent of those witnessed by the first shepherds of the nativity, community pastors are reaching out with messages of compassion and understanding. They recognize that the holiday season can be a difficult time for some, and they offer support through services, counseling, and communal gatherings that allow for shared experiences of both joy and sadness.

The poignant strains of “Blue Christmas” resonate with a special significance in this landscape, giving voice to silent sorrows and offering a bridge of connection to those feeling isolated. As Arizonans, we understand the profound beauty of our surroundings and the solace that nature can provide. In this spirit, communities, churches, and support groups across the state open doors to those seeking company, comfort, or a moment to speak openly about their feelings.

This Christmas, the message of Isaiah rings clear: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given … And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Let us embrace the dual chords of a Merry and Blue Christmas, recognizing that the season’s true harmony lies in its capacity to hold both joy and reflection in its embrace.

If you or someone you know is struggling this season, reach out. When you hear Elvis Presley sing the words, “That’s when those blue memories start callin’,” let it be a reminder that you are not alone and that every heartache is heard and understood. May we all find peace in its stillness and hope in its endless horizon. Merry Christmas to all, and may the blue hues of the season bring not only reflection but also the comfort of the community and the warmth of shared kindness.