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Blue Christmas Service @ 6:00 p.m.
December 21, 2017
The First United Methodist Church of Center, 211 N. Porter Street, announces their annual Blue Christmas Service on Thursday, December 21 at 6:00 p.m.
What is a Longest Night or Blue Christmas Service? This is a service where you will hear no triumphant organ fanfares, no joyous Christmas carols, only quiet readings and prayers in a sanctuary lit with candles amid the dusk of early evening. Its purpose is to reach those who feel little comfort and joy amid the celebratory season. It’s a chance to say, “My life is not totally fabulous,” and to hear that God is here in the midst of our loneliness and grief.
Some congregations call it a Blue Christmas service, reflecting the sadness of the song popularized by Elvis Presley. Others call it the Longest Night because it occurs on or near the winter solstice, with the year’s least amount of daylight.
Some people may be grieving for a loved one with whom they shared Christmases past. For others, who may have experienced divorce, abuse or other family trauma, the last thing they want to hear about is coming home for the holidays. Still others simply may be stressed because of holiday expectations. The service is particularly sober amid fresh grief.
Blue Christmas services have become more and more common in the past two decades. Participants light four candles on the Advent wreath in honor of grief, pain, fear and struggle, a contrast to their usual representation of love, joy, peace and hope.
Such services help revive the historic meanings of the season of Advent. The current cultural message that “everything is shiny and happy for Christmas” has overwhelmed the season’s original meaning and overwhelms many people.
Some may need the service in a given year while others come annually with some ongoing pain. It’s a comfort to a lot of people. For many, a very upbeat, celebratory Christmas is like salt in the wounds. The Blue Christmas Service helps by simply being closer to God. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it, no matter how much it seems like the darkness is winning.
Please come and join with us in hearing prayers, scripture and music, acknowledging that God’s presence is for those who mourn, for those who struggle – and that God’s Word comes to shine light into our darkness. Everyone is welcome. Coffee will be served after the service. Additional information regarding the Blue Christmas Service can be obtained by contacting Rev. Karen Jones at FUMC (936) 598-2707.