When the Christmas season rolls around, and the first notes of your favorite Christmas songs start to play over Thanksgiving dinner or while walking through the grocery store, it can be both a joyous, yet difficult reminder. The quintessential Christmas experience is one filled with families and friends, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. But, when we see empty chairs around the table, or empty benches during church services, it can bring a deep sadness. For those celebrating, perhaps for the first time, without a loved one, the holiday season can feel very lonely and uncertain.
A Blue Christmas service recognizes the loss and loneliness that can be felt during the holidays due to death, disease, poverty, or abuse. It is a service that specifically enables individuals to experience their grief, as well as express what they are feeling, so they can find a sense of calm and hope. While some churches have foregone this kind of service, many churches choose to hold space for those grieving during the holidays. In Western Christian tradition, a Blue Christmas service has been called the Longest Sleep and was sometimes held on the longest night of the year, or winter solstice.
Whether you hold a Blue Christmas service on winter solstice or another day during the season, here are three reasons why we think your church should consider hosting a Blue Christmas service this year.
Build Communal Bonds:
Most individuals are carrying a pain, grief, or burden of which we cannot be aware just by looking at them. Many walk through each day with a smile on their face, covering up what they are actually feeling deep down inside. We all know that humans are complex in nature, requiring familial and communal support to thrive.
A Blue Christmas service gives these individuals the opportunity to express how they are feeling, without fear of judgment or shock. They know they are in good company. With the soft lighting, calming worship music, and an opportunity to share, individuals will feel they can come forth, lay it all out, and process their grief in a safe space.
Create Opportunity for New Community:
It’s no secret that our world is growing increasingly difficult today. So many people are stricken with anxiety, depression, and turmoil, which is why they are looking for a place of respite. By hosting a Blue Christmas service for your community (not just your congregation), you are creating a space and opportunity for those who are feeling wholly alone, to find a supportive and understanding community.
A Blue Christmas service is one that recognizes the reality of this world without any fluff or cover-up. It’s as real as real gets, and that authenticity will surely be appreciated.
Honor the Spirit of the Season:
It’s important to recognize the reality of our world and what people are experiencing at any given time. Life on earth can be so hard and taxing at times, which is why it’s so important that we can come together in a house of worship and experience the breadth of human emotion. Although the idea of a Blue Christmas service may seem like a somber and sad experience, in the end, it’s truly about inspiring hope. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
We tell the story of the birth of Jesus to remind us of the hope brought in new life; to remind us that we are beloved children of God, just the way we are; and that this season is just the beginning. The birth of Jesus changed our world forever, and Blue Christmas plays into the very, real essence of the Christmas spirit. Hosting a Blue Christmas service will show that you are willing to comfort and support everyone in need of help this Christmas season (it might even be you).
Here at Worship Times, we specialize in church marketing, media, and digital management, which means we can help you get the word out regarding your Blue Christmas service. Through social media, email campaigns, and online ads, you can ensure everyone near and far to your community is aware of your commitment. The Longest Sleep can feel like one of the loneliest nights of the year – invite people into your warm, welcoming congregation.