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Monday, December 11, 2017

It’s a Blue Christmas Without Hope

When you hear those words “blue Christmas,” what comes to mind? Let me guess: Elvis. His classic recording of the song by that title continues to make the holiday season playlists.

What might not be so familiar, is that the term "blue Christmas" has some history in the western Christian tradition. It is worth noting that Blue Christmas is also referred to as the Longest Night. Of course, this usually would fall on or about December 21st, the winter solstice. On that day, churches may decide to hold a service to pay tribute to their loved ones who have passed on earlier in the year. Others hold a service of worship on the longest night of the year. (In my Christian life experience, I’ve not participated in either of these kinds of events.)

I am aware that when anyone is experiencing a loss during the “most wonderful time of the year,” life gets complicated. A recent news story is worth mentioning in this regard.

It involves the tragic suicide of the CEO of a company named Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill on December 2nd. Lowell Hawthorne, a Jamaican immigrant, fatally shot himself after a meeting with two employees. He had run a successful enterprise that began in 1989. Lowell had even been featured in an episode of “Undercover Boss.”

What surprised many in his drastic action was that Hawthorne was a man of faith. In fact, he had recently made a public statement thanking God for his success. His book, The Baker’s Son: My Life in Business, which was published in 2012, made a number of reference about his faith in God. So what drove Lowell Hawthorne to the point of final desperation? A looming tax probe. The feds had been investigating him for evading millions in taxes. He apparently owed city and state taxes as well and was being sued by a former employee.

The story of Hawthorne’s passing was reported by the Christian Post. (see link below) This paragraph pierced a bit of my soul:

“"Being a spiritual man, I have always wanted to have my children in church with me. I believe wholeheartedly in the principles and philosophies that my father shared, and so was determined to pass the same values on to my kids in turn. Words from my father like, 'Follow after me as I follow after Christ' and 'Be of good courage and walk as men' have been close to my heart since I was a boy. I truly believe that creating the same environment for my children that my father did for my siblings and me would lead them to Christ, ultimately transforming their lives and placing Him at the center of their joy,' he added.”

Earlier this year, a man I had known in California ended his life by jumping off a bridge. I have a CD from years back displaying his musical talent. He was an origami artist as well. Very bright. Very talented. And apparently, very depressed.

Bringing comfort to the many lives impacted by a suicide is quite challenging. You simply cannot supply answers. Nor should you try.

The most profound resource for dealing with dark and difficult situations is hope. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13, NLT)

Many in the workplace, who we see every day, have problems unseen. As it is within your ability, try to offer encouragement…and hope. Pray as you can for those who may be hurting in this season. Christmas delivers a message of hope to the world.

It’s much preferred to singing the blues.

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Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app.

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