Think on the color “blue” for a moment.
Many people associate blue with sadness. You will even see “blue Christmas services” held for people who find the holidays depressing. To be sure, the loss of loved ones can touch us most deeply when families gather to celebrate. December is a good time for all of us to seek those who feel blue, to cheer and console them.
But then we also remember St. Paul’s tender prayer that Christians not “mourn as others do, who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13). Our hope is Christ Jesus, our risen friend, the Resurrection and the Life. In Him, our Decembers are blue for a different reason.
Blue has a history in God’s life. A bright blue, semi-precious stone (lapis lazuli) appeared under His feet when He appeared to the elders of Israel (Exodus 24:10). God also commanded Israel to drape its priests and worship space with blue wool (Exodus 26:31, 28:6). In each case, blue accompanied the presence of God as He dwelt and worked among His people to make them holy.
Blue would later cover His Son’s body as bruises and welts spread over His skin, beaten by mocking soldiers (Mark 15:19), and it would cover Him again as He ascended into the blue skies, returning to His Father’s right hand (Acts 1:9-10). As in Israel, so also in Christ, the color blue attended the Lord as He worked to save His creation.
For good reason, then, has blue become the color of the Virgin Mary and of Advent. Through Mary, God came to dwell among us and work on our behalf, and during Advent, we prepare to welcome this same Lord when He comes again. The Big Event at Bethlehem was a rehearsal for that brilliant, Last Day, the Day in which God will tear the blue skies open, and every tear will be wiped away (Revelation 21:4).
I have no better gift to give you this season but the story of God’s blue. It’s not sad; it’s joyful, though tears uncovered its path. It’s the blue that enfolds you even today, closer than the blue nights of winter, warm with God’s eternal mercy.