For some, the holidays can be especially difficult. There is so much pressure to be “merry and bright” but, for many possible reasons, sometimes we don’t feel merry or joyful at this time of year. Thanksgiving and Christmas can be especially hard because we are reminded of loved ones who are gone and happier times that are past.
With that in mind, I want to share a word about parts of the church’s ministry that you may or may not be aware of. As part of our continuing efforts to serve the needs of our neighbors and our church family, we have a counselor who works out of our church building one day each week.
Her name is Vivian Graham, and she is a certified therapist who is experienced in working with children, youth and adults. Her work at our church is made possible by a partnership between PPUMC and the Pastoral Counseling Center of Dallas.
Ms. Graham meets with her Irving clients on Mondays in what is usually referred to as the “bride’s room” located in the narthex across from the two main back doors to the sanctuary. That room is very private because that area of the church is seldom used during the week and it would be very unlikely that anyone would encounter a member of the staff or a church member. Clients enter and leave through the front doors of the church.
Appointments are made directly with Ms. Graham and do not go through the church office. No one on the staff is ever aware of who meets with Vivian or what they discuss. Any client of Ms. Graham’s can be assured of absolute confidentiality.
It is my personal experience, and the experience of many people I have referred to counselors, that talking with a trained person who has no involvement in a situation can, at times, be extremely helpful. Sometimes in just one or two sessions a counselor can give us a fresh insight or a new perspective that will help us to get past an emotional obstacle.
In addition, I want to add a reminder about the “Service of Hope and Remembrance” that will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 20, 2017, at our church. This is what is sometimes referred to as the “blue Christmas” service, which is a small, intimate worship experience that is open to anyone but intended as a way to help people who struggle emotionally with all the frenzy that has come to be a part of our celebration of Christmas.
There is also a “Faith and Grief” program that meets monthly at Woodhaven Presbyterian Church in Irving. PPUMC had a hand in creating that support group and I recommend it to you if that would be helpful.
Christmas should be a happy time as we celebrate the decisive event in human history when God came to live in human form in the midst of the creation. For many of us it will be a joyous time to be with friends and family. I do hope that it will be a “Merry Christmas” for all. But if it’s hard to find the joy, don’t apologize or feel guilty about your feelings. Let somebody help.
I’ll look for you on Sunday as we begin a new Advent season.