Friday, December 21, 2007

Blue Christmas/Darkest Night services

newspaper clipping
[Image: a newspaper announcement for a "Blue Christmas" service tonight.]

Across North America, churches (mostly mainline Protestant or interfaith congregations) are offering "blue Christmas" or "Darkest Night" services tonight, in recognition that not everyone experiences the holidays as a time of joy and celebration. They invite folks who, for reasons related to depression, anxiety, pain, loneliness, grief, or personal crisis, want to avoid the traditional jollity and cheer of community gatherings, to attend a winter solstice service that more closely reflects a complicated relationship with the season.

I haven't attended one of these services, but the effort is encouraging: better than casual "hey, cheer up, it's Christmas" responses, anyway. It may be a once-a-year thing for some congregations, but in others, such offerings could well represent a broader commitment to respect and address difficulty and diversity.

13 comments:

Ashley's Mom said...

This is a great idea. I haven't seen any churches in my area offering this though. I'll have to check around...or maye suggest!

Kay Olson said...

I hadn't heard of this before but it's a great idea. I'm thinking, in addition to those with on-going clinical depression, of all those families with loved ones serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or fighting for housing in New Orleans. Or the other things that often make a whole season of celebration and gay commercialism seem so false and wrong.

Casdok said...

Brillirnt idea!
Wonder if we have these here in the UK?

Big Noise said...

This seems like a good idea. Lots of people, including those who find the crass commercialism of this holiday season misguided would find it comforting. I like it and am going to mention it to the few people i know in a ministry.
Cilla

Penny L. Richards said...

Kay--yes, all those groups too. I've also heard that some couples experiencing infertility prefer the Darkest Night services to the traditional "A BABY IS BORN!" emphasis of Christmas Eve services.

So it does seem like it would address a very wide need indeed, when you take all the possible audiences together....

Terry said...

I wish I had access to something like this.

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