“I’ll have a blue Christmas without you” That’s how the 1957 hit Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley goes, and it’s in part the inspiration behind the title of an annual worship service that is catching on throughout the country. Many churches have held Blue Christmas or Longest Night services for years, but I’m finding that more and more churches are starting this tradition in their congregations.
This service is Typically held on or around December 21st to mark the longest night of the year. After the 21st we have more daylight each and every day so the Longest Night service is a time to honor the fact that there is darkness in our world and the days have gotten shorter and the nights longer. Somewhere along the line in the history of this service the name Blue Christmas was given to it as a time to remember that there are many people for whom Christmas is not a joyous and celebratory time of year. That it is in fact. a dark time for them. This is usually the result of a death that has occurred making the holidays harder to celebrate, or the fact that an individual lives at a distance from family and friends and thus the holidays are a depressing time for them.
A Blue Christmas service is where the church has stepped in to recognize these situations and provide a place that helps to honor the feelings of these individuals and bring hope to them. It’s a place to truly recognize the power of the incarnation and the hope that comes when God is living among us. If you are looking for a way to recognize that there are those in your congregation who feel lonely, depressed, grieving, and otherwise at a loss during this time of year. Then try holding a Blue Christmas service and remind them of the hope that comes to us at Christmas.