For many people, Christmas is a time of joy and filled with gladness and merriment. For many others, it is a time of deep sadness that can lead to depression, isolation, and anxiety. For those who have lost a loved one, who have lost a job, or who are dealing with illness, loneliness or broken relationships, it is really difficult to sing “Joy to the World.”
A “Blue Christmas” service is held near December 21, which is the longest and darkest night of the year, as a time for quiet reflection and prayer. The service emphasizes Jesus as the Light of the World, and as John says about Jesus, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5).
The service begins with dim lights and a candle procession, spreading a gentle light through the gathered community. The songs, hymns and music are soft and reflective, led with simple instrumentation. Scripture readings focus on God’s hope for us and presence with us in feeling what we feel. This is a quiet service of hope and promise.