Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year for everyone.
Grief, loneliness, depression, and other life situations make it hard for some to get into the festive spirit. As an offering of hope for those who struggle, several churches in our community are offering “Blue Christmas” services. Wesley Memorial United Methodist and Covenant Presbyterian are among the churches offering this unique service for those who need it.
“The Longest Night service was new to us last year,” said Covenant Minister Rev. Maggie Rust. “It is a service for those who may be working through deep grief for loved ones who are absent this Holiday Season.”
Rust noted that for a lot of people, Christmas is a reminder of the empty chairs at the table and memories of disappointment.
“I think churches have always been where that hard work of processing grief is done,” Rust said, adding that celebrating the Longest Night is anopportunity “to consider the darkness of winter and distress and then remember that the Light of the World is coming. Hope is coming. Hope is what Advent and Christmas is about.”
Covenant’s Longest Night service will be held at 6 p.m. on Dec. 21. That date coincides with the night of winter solstice, the longest night of the year.
Wesley Memorial UMC’s service will take place on the same date and time. In a release, Wesley leadership said “This service provides a safe space for those who find joy elusive to sit with their feelings and hopefully see a glimmer of light in their darkness. Counselors will be present to listen for anyone who needs to talk, and individuals will also be available to pray with those who would like to have someone pray with them.”
For more information on Covenant Presbyterian’s service, call 423.282.5324 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Wesley Memorial is located at 225 Princeton Road in Johnson City.