I was late getting to church at First Lutheran in Red Wing on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020.

Well, not really of course, since there were only a few church members present at the building to make the worship video while live-streaming.

Plus, I was listening to Pastor Arte’s brief meditation on snowflakes as glimpses of hope. Pretty. And, I’d already read his sermon and the liturgy provided on their webpage.

I did want to actually listen to it though, maybe get a tune stuck in my head, I did; maybe hear Pastor Arte ad-lib a word or two, he did. Plus, the way he said “peaceful” was peaceful.

It was a “Blue Christmas” worship service. The tune that meditatively stayed with me was not Elvis Presley’s rendition of that song, or Pastor Arte’s either, since he said the music director talked him out of that (which seemed to be confirmed by a chuckle in the background). He did however sing a few notes of “hap-happiest time of the year.” Followed immediately by the question of oh, “Really?” He also mentioned appreciating the blues music for acknowledging problems and cathartically setting them to music.

Saying this Christmas might be more difficult than most this year, he added parenthetically, “for some reason.” When talking about trouble sleeping, as an aside he added but “enough about me.”

Seven candles were prayerfully lit in hopes of healing for a wide range of human afflictions — kind of a process of naming, claiming and clearing.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

We were reminded to acknowledge “the angels in the living room.” Also to lean in and breath to find the presence of God’s “peace, promise and proximity.”

After noticing irregular patterns on the ground because brown leaves that are still on some of the trees preserved patches of green grass, protecting it from the light covering of snow, I noticed drops of melted snow sparkling in the sunlight like a profusion of colorful little iridescent bubbles. According to the announcements, there will be a very brief service in the parking lot on Christmas Eve involving music and candles. After that, luminaries in the park. Volunteers needed. “Make haste to do kindness” and gladden the hearts of others.