Churches offer Blue Christmas services

While the Advent and Christmas seasons can offer hope, joy and peace, they can also stir feelings of sadness and depression in part because we all mourn the loss of loved ones and can feel these losses profoundly in this time of year. Churches across the country are offering what have become known as “Blue Christmas” services for those who have experienced loss.

Charlottesville Church Hosts Blue Christmas

From NBC29 online

For people who’ve lost loved ones, getting through the holiday season can be difficult.

One Charlottesville church is stepping up to try and make it a little easier for people of all faiths.

Charlottesville’s Church of Our Savior held a special Blue Christmas service Wednesday night. Its doors were opened wide in an effort to help people of all faiths find hope and healing this holiday season.

Reverend Mary Staley of Charlottesville’s Episcopal Church of Our Savior says for many the holidays can be filled with hardships and heartache. “We find that people come into the holiday season with all sorts of challenges and sometimes they feel like burdens.”

They’re burdens no greater than the loss of a loved one. Wednesday Staley welcomed people of all faiths to a Christmas service to acknowledge their loss and help them heal.

“When you go walking through the mall and you hear the bells and the chimes and the people you know, ho, ho, ho-ing, sometimes that seems difficult.”

A new look at the holidays

From “Wicked Local Chemsford” (MA) online

For many, the holiday season is marked with hustle and bustle: Cooking loads of food, shopping for all the right items, gift-wrapping and most of all, stress.

. . .

While much of the holiday mood centers around joy and happiness, but there is a good percentage of people coming to terms with the death of a loved one. To honor those who have died, All Saints Episcopal Church and the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church are holding “longest night services,” or Blue Christmas Masses this Sunday.

Rev. Tom Barrington, of the All Saints Episcopal Church, said All Saints’ longest night Mass this Sunday is a recognition that Christmas time stirs up issues of heartache and loss for many.

“It could be dealing with issues for folks that aren’t here any more or a separation of folks,” said Barrington. “It could be ‘I don’t feel all jolly and happy.’ It’s a chance for people to recognize it’s not all about jolly Saint Nick and it’s about God being born into a world of struggle.”

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  1. We call ours a “longest night” service. Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.

  2. Mary Staley

    You can see the video clip on line. For the next few days, you can click on the word “Here” below the words Blue Christmas Service” on our web site.

  3. After our first Blue Christmas in 2007, our organist’s father posted a comment about it. here at Episcopal Cafe.

  4. The news 29 feed show a little more about our Blue Christmas.

  5. John B. Chilton


    “In an unusual take on the season of giving, a London law firm is offering Christmas gift vouchers for divorce advice. … A spokesman for the Church of England called the vouchers sad. “Divorce is a very personal matter and not really suitable for the idea of gift vouchers which are presents from other people,” he said. Demand for the vouchers could soar over the next few weeks. Christmas tends to be a particularly stressful time for families, with a huge rise in people seeking advice each January, Lloyd Platt said.”

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