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.
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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.”