On Sunday, December 19th at 5:00pm we will hold our seventh annual Blue Christmas service. I have no doubt that as long as people have been celebrating Christmas there have been some who have felt ‘blue” this time of year for whatever reason. Particularly the way we celebrate the season in our culture with the emphasis on family and happiness can cause those already feeling lonely and down due to illness, grief, depression, infertility, divorce, job loss, moving, etc. to feel even more so. Someone has said, “The twinkling lights and merry songs of Christmas can, in cruel contrast, deepen the darkness and gloom felt buy those struggling with grief, depression, or illness.”
Perhaps with COVID we have all known what it is to feel a little (or a lot) blue this time of year. Even now as we mark 800,000 deaths in the U.S. from the disease even as numbers spike (again!) with an other new variant, carefree Christmas happiness is in short supply in the overwhelmed supply chain. Sometimes called a “Longest Night” service, Blue Christmas is held close to the winter solstice of December 21, the shortest day and longest night of the year. People who are grieving have told me that the nights are the hardest. They can stay busy and distracted during the day, but at night there is nowhere to hide from the loneliness of loss.
The focus on the service is neither happiness nor sadness, but ra-ther joy. True joy is “not the absence of pain, but the presence of God.” It is a short, quiet service of hope, healing and light in the darkness.
Please encourage anyone in or outside the church to know that they will be welcome if they attend. If someone has come to mind while you are reading this, send them a text or give them a call and invite them to go with you. Also, anyone who simply wants to come and show support by their presence is encouraged to join us. And the whole thing will be streamed online, so those who are hesitant to come to the building can still join us virtually. The link is the same one for all worship services: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/410525957
To me this service captures the true meaning of Christmas in that Jesus came into a dark world to bring light, “and the darkness could not overcome it.”