Blue Christmas addresses Veterans’ holiday stress

Blue Christmas Service

Excerpts from a sermon by Chaplain Jonathan Landon, Eugene VA Health Care Center.

I’ve known for a long time that some men and women really don’t enjoy the holiday season. In recent years I’ve had encounters that really brought home to me how many people there are in this situation, and how deep is their pain.

I’ve been convicted that we – the VA – and we – the community of faith – really should find some way to address this deep, aching need that some of our brothers and sisters feel.

Planning this service brought home to me many reasons why people might suffer during the holidays.

–The first one that comes to mind is grief –loss of a loved one or a friend – but it’s not the only reason.

–Alienation from family or even geographic distance from them can do it.

–Painful memories of events that happened in the holiday season might be a reason.

–Some people are experiencing loss of a job or other economic difficulty.

–Even good things might make the holidays difficult; think about retirement, empty nest, or moving to a new home.

Any big change that affects a strong part of your self-identity might cause loneliness and feelings of isolation.

Even the loss of what might have been can be so painful.               

I’m supposed to say something helpful, here, but I don’t want to offer quick fixes or simple tips;

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