NOTE: This service occurs on or around December 21.
The Christmas season is often presented as unending joy and peaceful family celebration from beginning to end. There isn’t much room for grief, for a sense of loneliness, or for any other emotion considered to be negative. Except, emotions aren’t negative or positive; they just are. Here space is created to allow participants to feel what they feel and to be accepted for that. More than accepted, they can find that God meets them where they are; Emmanuel enters in to bless us as where we are.
An important part of “Blue Christmas” or “The Longest Night” service is an opportunity to grieve and to remember those who are no longer present in this season of family and relationship. Sometimes this remembrance is done by lighting candles, writing notes, or simply sharing names – speaking those names aloud as if the loved ones were here with us. Because, of course, they are, even though out of reach.
Of course, our worship is always directed toward the Christ who comes. And this Christ meets us in joy and in pain, in certainty and in doubt. Let this service be space for all and a comfort and hope to any. You may need to adapt and add to in order to fit into your context and meet the needs of your community. Here are some links for suggested resources and outlines for the service.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.