The lyrics of a popular song say that Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year,” but this isn’t true for everyone. Those who have recently experienced the loss of a loved one, are lonely, or suffer from depression find it difficult attending a Christmas Eve service and joining in as the congregation sings “Joy to the World.”
Many churches reach out to those who are sad this time of year by having a Blue Christmas or Longest Night worship service on or near December 21st. This type of service acknowledges the pain that people are feeling while emphasizing that there is hope.
The Building Faith website has a post titled “Blue Christmas: Liturgy and Hymn Suggestions” offered by Quentin Chin. The liturgy includes selections from two poems, prayers, contemplative music ideas, and the suggestion that those who attend “should have an opportunity to take part in at least one healing ritual, such as lighting a candle or praying with someone.” Another post on the website is titled “Blue Christmas: Description and Service Outline.” Along with scripture readings and several reflections, there is a “Liturgy of Remembering” using the Advent wreath candles.
The PCUSA website has “Blue Christmas: A Service of Wholeness and Healing” from the First Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Every year the parish nurses offer this service. They design the worship and use readings from books of meditations, poetry and sacred readings.
The Presbyterian Mission Agency site has an “Advent Longing for the Light of Healing Service” which starts in quiet darkness and ends after communion with “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” The site states that the service is ideal for a Blue Christmas service.
There are many more Blue Christmas worship services available online. The Appreciative Way website has a page devoted to Blue Christmas resources. You can also find links to resources about Blue Christmas on the Text This Week site.