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Finding solace during a Blue Christmas season

Finding solace during a Blue Christmas season

Six years ago, Ann Fontaine wrote an essay on Blue Christmas services that has become one of the most popular pieces in the Cafe’s not-quite seven-year history.

It begins:

Cries of “Merry Christmas!” and non-stop caroling contrast with the feelings of many people at this time of year. For those suffering from the recent or impending death of loved ones and for those whose families are in crisis, it can be a very isolated and dreary time. Every greeting and every song reminds the grief-stricken of how unhappy life is at this moment.

Many churches have begun to recognize that Festivals of Lessons and Carols, celebrations of Christmas, and children’s pageants do not meet everyone’s needs. To fill this gap churches offer a Blue Christmas service, a Service of Solace or Longest Night. People who are not having a very merry Christmas and friends who support them are invited to come and sit with one another in a liturgy that speaks of the love of God for the grieving.

Are any churches in your area offering Blue Christmas services?


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Grace Galena will offer an Advent Quiet space tonight, December 11. It will be about 45 minutes of prayer, reflection, song, and candle lighting to acknowledge sadness and loss–and the hope and promise of the light overcoming darkness.

Gloria Hopewell+

Robin Garr

We’re offering the community a Blue Christmas service at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, at St Thomas Episcopal Church in Louisville.

sue sommer

St. David’s in Glenview (Diocese of Chicago) will be hosting a Longest Night liturgy on Dec. 21 at 4 pm. St. David’s has been doing this for about 5 years, I understand, though this will be my first observance with them.

Sue Sommer

Matthew Ellis

At Episcopal Health Ministries, we have made available an order of service for a ‘Dark Christmas’ service, shared by our friends at St. Matthews in Fairbanks, AK. It is available at the link in this post.

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