Over the years churches and other institutions like funeral homes and grief counselling services have been offering special services at this time of year for people who are grieving the loss of a loved one or a profound change in their life situation. These are often called “Blue Christmas” or “Longest Night” services. This practice emerged from recognizing that not everyone is in the emotional place where they can be cheerful and upbeat, often fearing they will “spoil” Christmas for others by letting their grief show when others are at least trying to be happy. Living Spirit has been a part of the Blue Christmas Service trend, and rightly so as the need is as real as people’s pain.
In recent years, Christian churches have started to realize that our view of Christmas is not about parties, presents and perfection. While preparing to celebrate (ie, lift up) Jesus’ birth we know the story’s end. The Holy Child is born in the shadow of the cross and the reality of death at the hands of brutes. Blue Christmas, then, need not be apart from our Advent preparations, and can be a meaningful addition to the season. As a result this year our Advent services will have a blue note – a recognition that all is not well with individuals, communities, nations or the world, and that tears are healing, not shameful, and a source of healing and strength. Yet we don’t stop celebrating because things aren’t what we hoped they would be. We celebrate that it was in a very dark time in history, a time of persecution under the glittery yet violent “success” of the Roman Empire, that the Christ child was born. God digs deep into our lives, knows our sorrows and our joys, and brings hope, peace, joy and love. So we will decorate the Sanctuary in a more muted way, we will light the blue candles and a pink one too as we prepare our hearts for something great to be born in them and remember those whose hearts are hurting.
If you would prefer to attend a separate Blue Christmas service the following places are offering them:
Deer Park United Church – 77 Deerpoint Rd SE – www.dpuc.ca
Wild Rose United Church – 1317 1st Street NW – www.wildroseunited.ca
Mountain View Funeral Home – www.arbormemorial.ca/en/mountainview
(their’s is Dec 3 at 2:30 pm )