In 1948 the Christmas song, Blue Christmas was released. Perhaps the Elvis Presley version is the most familiar one. Since about the 1990’s many congregations have held what is often referred to as a Blue Christmas worship service. It is uncertain where the title originated, from the song, from the phrase feeling blue, or some other source.
The title can be confusing to those not familiar with the service as we often refer to our police forces and others as people in blue. There are many people who have thought this service was specifically for police officers and others who serve or have served our country. It is, however, a service for all who may find it comforting.
Blue Christmas services are held sometime mid Advent, often on or around the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, bringing the hope of lengthening days. Perhaps Service of Hope would be a more descriptive title for this service. All Advent worship services could be considered services of hope as we find in the hymn a plea for Emmanuel to come and ransom captive Israel.
We all have things that stress us, bring anxiety, and that we grieve for, from the loss of an ornament which carried great meaning for us, change of employment, to the loss of a loved one. I pray that there is time for this in all our worship services, whichever congregation it is.
A Blue Christmas or a Service of Hope is not meant to take away the joy of Advent and the activities surrounding it or replace other worship services. It is designed as a time and safe place to gather and pause in all we are doing to recognize our stresses, anxieties, and our grief. The liturgy allows for recognizing these and remembering that there is hope. It is a time for people to come together in support of others, knowing there have been times they needed support.
If you feel a service of this type would be beneficial or comforting to you or someone you know, many congregations hold them. Glen Hills Parish (United Methodist Churches) will be partnering with Boyceville UMC for a Service of Hope on Wednesday, December 21st, 6 pm at the Downing church. All are welcome.