A church in Tennessee will hold a “Blue Christmas” service next week for those who may not be looking forward to the usual merriment of the season due to personal losses or stressful life situations.
The Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan in West Knoxville will conduct this special Christmas service on Wednesday, according to the church’s events calendar.
“Not everyone is filled with holiday cheer and not everyone looks forward to the merriment of the Christmas holidays,” a note on the calendar explains. “Sometimes life situations and personal losses can make parties and social gatherings painful for people who are filled with worry and grief.”
The church is inviting anyone who has lost a loved one, is out of work, has a serious illness, or is dealing with troubled children or aging parents. There will be “light, reflection, music and Holy Communion.”
“It’s a service of light in the midst of darkness … to be honest with the fact there’s a lot of hurt, a lot of grieving and losses to deal with at this time of year,” knoxnews.com quotes the Rev. Taylor Dinsmore, assistant pastor, as saying.
The pastor says her church will have people light candles, bring them forward and place them on the altar, and “maybe, if just for a brief moment, they can hand their problems over and let God handle them.”
The service is also meant for people like health care workers, nursing home workers, and mental health care workers, as “the burden they carry is incredible.”
Providing a “healing environment” is an integral part of the church’s vision. “We are a place where pilgrims seek spiritual comfort centered in Jesus Christ,” the church’s website says. “We are a place free from the kind of oppression, condemnation and guilt that has caused so many to be alienated from Christianity. Our worship and our peaceful environment are uplifting to the soul and promote spiritual healing, contemplation, and reflection.”
The Knoxville church had its first Blue Christmas service in 2008. However, it’s not the only church to have a Christmas service for the hurting.
On Dec. 21, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Va., will also host a Blue Christmas service, featuring songs of hope and healing and a liturgy of remembering centered on the lighting of the Advent wreath, according to pal-item.com.