parkdale united church

429 Parkdale Avenue, OTTAWA, Ontario K1Y 1H3

Parkdale’s Christmas Reflective Service

When you come in from the dark, cold night and enter Parkdale’s beautiful chapel, you are struck by feelings of warmth and peace. The pianist is softly playing Silent Night. People are sitting quietly, some with their heads bent, each one pondering the specific situation that has brought them here. For some, it is the loss of a loved one; for some, the loss of a relationship; for some, the loss of health or maybe a job. These events might be recent or they might have happened years ago. Whatever the reason, the feelings of grief, darkness and loneliness are making it difficult to enter into the festive mood of the Christmas season. For Christians, this is a time of celebration and joy but if your heart is heavy, it is hard to be joyous. However, tonight, in the Chapel, you realize that you are not the only one experiencing this darkness and you feel comforted by the presence of others.

The service starts with Anthony lighting candles to remember the loved ones we have lost; to honour our pain; to remind us to tend to our own wellbeing; to remember our faith, and that Christ longs to bring us hope, healing and love. There is time for quiet reflection accompanied by soft, classical music. We are each given the opportunity to light a candle in acknowledgement of our sorrow and place it in a container. You feel that your pain has been validated and that you have turned it over to God.  At the same time, we receive anointing from Anthony for healing. 

As the service progresses with readings, prayers, carols and meditations, Anthony assures us of God’s support and desire for our well-being. Grief and suffering will not last forever. Gradually, your heavy heart lightens. Quietly, you leave the Chapel feeling comforted, less sad and less lonely - you know you can trust in God’s love.  And you can sense the light beyond the darkness.