A few years ago, I learned about a church—an Evangelical Free Church—that holds an annual evening service called Blue Christmas on December 21, the longest night of the year. It’s a service welcoming all who feel “blue” at Christmas-time, whether because of a personal loss or illness or addiction or any other sorrow. Anyone present at the service who requests prayers is wrapped in one of the shawls that the church’s prayer shawl group has been knitting all year. The shawl is theirs to keep, a constant reminder of God’s enfolding and healing love.
As soon as I heard about this service, I wanted to go. At the time, I was writing a book that became Knit One, Purl a Prayer: A Spirituality of Knitting, which includes discussion of the prayer shawl ministries that have sprung up at churches of all denominations around the country. The specifics of prayer shawl ministries differ, but in general knitters from the church gather regularly to knit shawls to give to people who are suffering in some way. The shawl, knit with prayer, is meant to wrap the recipient in God’s love. [Read more...]