A Blue Holiday is not a new concept, particularly Blue Christmas. It is a phrase denoting sadness during a time that everyone is or at least expected to be blissfully filled with joy. Typically, it refers to a sadness resulting from some type of loss or loneliness; a sadness that overshadows or eclipse what is normally a time of love, light, and liveliness. However, today, for some, it may also adequately describe a profound lament regarding perceived realities of the human condition.
So, here we are. Tis the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, and at least 59.1 million of our nation is feeling victorious; joy and happiness; blessed and basking in grace; celebratory and hopeful.
However, at least 59.3 million of our nation is feeling defeated; deep sadness; anger and disappointment; forsaken; dissent; despair and suicidal; and, “sick and tired of being sick and tired” (Fannie Lou Hamer).
On the one hand, we celebrate America, and being American. Yet, on the other hand, we long for an America that will genuinely embrace, affirm and value the sacred worth and rights of all people; an America that will do right by all persons, including those who are different from the illusionary dominant norms and culture(s).
On the one hand, we honor and respect our democracy that supposedly creates spaces for known and unknown persons; politically savvy and politically naive persons to pursue positions of public service… evidently all the way up to the Office of President. Yet, on the other hand, we are deeply stunned and troubled that our democracy, our evolved United States of America, could elect one who is seemingly, consciously and intentionally, hateful and abrasive to all categories of the other: primarily, women, persons of color, immigrants, Muslims, critical thinkers and those with opposing voices.
Subsequently, it seems that many, seeking desperately to process their lament, may be heading towards Blue Holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. What about you? Where are you on this spectrum of emotions? Wherever you situate yourself on this spectrum of emotions, we love and respect you as our neighbor; we respect your right of choice; we honor your voice even when we disagree. And we urge you to reciprocate these acts of unconditional love, compassionate understanding, and mutuality.
Moreover, just as we as faith leaders must provide pastoral care, guidance and leadership to persons of all political persuasions, it is my sincere hope that President-Elect Donald Trump will come to realize that he is mandated, by positional authority, to seek and stand for equality and justice for all Americans; that he must actually have a profound love and respect for America and Americans.
Now, whether Happy, Blue or Merry during this holiday season, may God, our creator, Jesus, our redeemer, and the Holy Spirit, our comforter, strengthen us amid our tensions. May God guide us with uncommon love, wisdom and peace as we find our way through this new, and for many, very challenging and frightening reality. May we stand, speak and fight for our highest potential as a nation. May we live to see the other side. May our faiths survive the inevitable costs of liberation and freedom. May we remain strong in the struggle. Amen and Ase.
- Valerie L. Jackson
Valerie L. Jackson is the senior pastor of University Park Methodist Church and one of the first non-faculty academic advisors at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver. She also serves the metro Denver community via the Commission on the Status and Role of Women, the District Superintendency Committee, and Colorado’s Religious Coalition for Reproductive Justice, of which she is president.