Rosemary for Remembrance: Worship for when Christmas is a Difficult Time

Worship for When Christmas is a Difficult Time

  • Date: Friday, December 15
  • Time: 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Music will be provided by Ensemble Galilei with English tenor, James Oxley. They will offer a prelude and postlude, plus carols “Lo How a Rose,” “The Moon Shines Bright,” and “Christ Child Lullaby.” Their soulful carols are performed with such virtuosity that for listeners it appears time stands still. Individuals and families who live with painful memories of loss may join in this meditative and soothing service of prayer.  In candlelight, sprigs of rosemary will be given as remembrances of those who are missed at this season of Jesus’ birth.

The season leading up to Christmas can be a pressured time when frazzled nerves get people beside themselves. The music of Ensemble Galilei is so personal, so completely remarkable that worshipers will leave thinking that the hustle and bustle of Christmas no longer matters. What counts is the love that comes down into each of our lives.  Rosemary for Remembrance is a quiet worship that helps participants to slow down and come to themselves.

The title for worship, “Rosemary for Remembrance” comes from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Act IV, scene V:  “There’s rosemary; that’s for remembrance./ Pray, love, remember.”  The herb rosemary has, for centuries, held great meaning as the symbol of remembrance.  Legend says that the Virgin Mary, while resting, spread her cloak over a white flowering rosemary bush.  The flowers turned the pale blue of her cloak, and from then on the bush was referred to as the “Rose of Mary.”  The service is intended to help worshipers “pray, love, and remember.”  All are invited to participate.

Pastoral Counselor Anne Klinger at Saint Paul’s urges anyone who has experienced a loss this year to pay attention to themselves.  She advises: “be patient with yourself and take care of yourself.  Be realistic and honest about your limits.  Finally, accept your feelings.  Everyone grieves differently.  Ask yourself, ‘Where can I find peace?  What brings me joy?’”