Getting Ready For A Blue Christmas – a New Resource List

Night candle

ready for a Blue Christmas

Christmas is approaching. I know it must be so because Santa Clause has already invaded the stores and TV is alive with holiday cheer… and there are only 43 days to go!

For many this season is anything but cheerful, even when we have not had to put up with non stop Christmas music for days before hand. For those who have lost loved ones , lost a job, are struggling financially or with illness this not an easy season. And for those who have lost their houses and livelihoods due to the devastation of Sandy and other disasters this year, the season will probably be anything but cheerful, so why do we try to cover our pain and grief with Yuletide cheer?

Many churches have begun to recognize that Festivals of Carols, celebrations of Christmas, and children’s pageants do not meet everyone’s needs. To fill this gap churches offer a Blue Christmas service, a Service of Solace or Longest Night. People who are not having a very merry Christmas and friends who support them are invited to come and sit with one another in a liturgy that speaks of the love of God for the grieving.

Here are some great resources that could help if you want to plan or participate in a Blue Christmas service:

Text of the Week has some great resources for planning a Blue Christmas service. (scroll down the Advent resources until you get to Blue Christmas).

Stephens Ministries also lists ideas for celebrating this season.

I also like this simple but powerful Blue Christmas Service and the ideas for how to use it.

These prayer suggestions from Mental Health Ministries.

And this beautiful Liturgy of Remembrance for Advent and Christmas.

Let me end with this beautiful prayer by Ted Loder which appears in Guerrilas of Grace 

O God of all seasons and senses, grant us the sense of your timing to submit gracefully and rejoice quietly in the turn of the seasons.

In this season of short days and long nights,
of grey and white and cold,
teach us the lessons of endings;
children growing, friends leaving, loved ones dying,
grieving over,
grudges over,
blaming over,
excuses over.

O God, grant us a sense of your timing.
In this season of short days and long nights,
of grey and white and cold,
teach us the lessons of beginnings;
that such waitings and endings may be the starting place,
a planting of seeds which bring to birth what is ready to be born—
something right and just and different,
a new song, a deeper relationship, a fuller love—
in the fullness of your time.

O God, grant us the sense of your timing.