Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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December 14, 2013

A blue Christmas

Special church service ministers to those hurting during the holidays

Jim and Karla Buchanan don’t know how to be happy about the holidays right now.

All of the windows in their home are boarded up, and the floors are gone.

Their house is too much of a mess to even put their Christmas tree up.

They live in Cedar Crest subdivision, and their home was severely damaged in the Nov. 17 tornado.

The homes on one side of them were destroyed. The homes on the other, untouched.

People tell them they’re lucky. It could have been worse.

They know they should feel that way. But all they feel is stress and sadness.

Wednesday, the couple sought refuge inside South Side Christian Church in Kokomo.

“We came here for comfort,” Karla said. “I found it.”

The Rev. Rebecca Sundquist spent the evening ministering to a small group of people with her annual Blue Christmas service.

She tried to give hope to the 10 people who came to her for help.

The church was already bathed in the soft glow of candlelight, but the reverend lit four more Wednesday night – the advent candles.

As she lit each one, she delivered a message for those there. They responded with a prayer of their own.

The first is a single light that the deepest darkness cannot conquer. It’s small and insignificant but a sign of hope, she preached.

One candle burned brightly.

The second is just as insignificant, but it brings more hope and extra light, Sundquist told the hurting.

Another glowed in the darkness.

The group responded.

“Let it speak to us of the lights of companionship – of our family and of our friends – of strangers and kindnesses found in unexpected places that restored our hope in human nature.”

The third candle recognizes those long nights of watching and waiting of sleeplessness and anxiousness when dawn seemed to ebb further from the horizon and hope seemed gone.

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