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Old Yesterday, 12:40 AM
 
6,086 posts, read 2,772,695 times
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This past Sunday, I attended a Blue Christmas Service at my mom's church.

I had never heard of this, and in fact it was the first one this church has conducted. My father passed away in April, and my mom had told me she wanted to go and asked if my husband and I would take her.

To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive about going and my husband wasn't all that thrilled about it either. But, it turned out to be a lovely service, so I am just sharing in case anyone else might find this helpful. The service we attended was at a United Methodist Church, but in googling, it has been a "thing" for a while and lots of different denominations hold these types of services.

It was billed as for anyone suffering from any kind of loss or grief, whether it was loss of job, marriage, health or loved one due to death. The primary focus was those grieving loss of loved ones due to death.

Some churches tie it to the winter solstice, longest night closer to Dec 21, so if you are interested it may still be available somewhere in your community.

It was about a 30 minute service. The church was decorated for Christmas, but not in full regalia for Christmas pageant or eve. More subtle and just greenery/candles.

There was music, but more soothing than rejoicing ala Joy to the World style.

The program where we attended was interactive with responsive readings between the pastor/congregation; scripture readings with a short "message" of interpretation from the pastor, and a few hymns.

There was a candle lighting which I think was tied to Advent, but I must have missed that instruction growing up lol, because it wasn't quite clear to me. In any case, there was an interactive thing where altar candles were lit from the main candles representing Grief, Courage(needed to move forward), Memories, Love. The congregation was invited to come forward, light a wick from which ever candle they wanted and then light a candle on the chair rail altar while speaking the name of their lost loved one.

Kind of funny, but my mom who read through the program as soon as we sat down, told me I might have to do the candle lighting for her because she might not be able to walk all the way to the altar. She didn't raise no fool lol and I knew it was because she wasn't quite clear on the rules and also just intimidated by the whole thing lol. So, I told her don't worry, hubby will walk you up there.

In the end, a man in the front pew, got up and led the way and the rest of the congregation followed. We all went up with hubby lending my mom support. (They did make clear that anyone who really couldn't walk up they would bring the candles to). There was a bit of confusion and the usual, some people couldn't get their wicks to light, etc. But, people wanted to perform the ritual and my own mother asked me which candle represented grief so she could light from it. I also heard others speaking names or mom/dad, etc. So, people did find meaning in it.

Overall, it was a very sweet ceremony, the value of which was imo, a quiet peaceful respite from the hullaboo of Christmas that can be especially difficult/stressful if you are grieving. It was also a total kindness zone......everyone there was hurting in some way and very kind/gentle with everyone else.
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Old Yesterday, 07:01 AM
 
Location: SWFL
21,761 posts, read 18,383,312 times
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Thank you for sharing, Blondy. It sounds like a very nice, thoughtful service.

Sorry for the loss of your Dad.
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Old Today, 10:55 AM
 
6,086 posts, read 2,772,695 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tamiznluv View Post
Thank you for sharing, Blondy. It sounds like a very nice, thoughtful service.

Sorry for the loss of your Dad.
Thanks for your kind words Tamiznluv.

Yes, it was a very nice service and imo hit all the right notes.

They also do something similar around Halloween......All Saints Eve, but we missed that one.

The timing was good too and around dinner time so we followed up with taking my Mom out to dinner, reminiscing about my Dad, toasting him and then moving on to lighter topics.
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Old Today, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
19,222 posts, read 3,989,346 times
Reputation: 24397
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blondy View Post
This past Sunday, I attended a Blue Christmas Service at my mom's church.

I had never heard of this, and in fact it was the first one this church has conducted. My father passed away in April, and my mom had told me she wanted to go and asked if my husband and I would take her.

To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive about going and my husband wasn't all that thrilled about it either. But, it turned out to be a lovely service, so I am just sharing in case anyone else might find this helpful. The service we attended was at a United Methodist Church, but in googling, it has been a "thing" for a while and lots of different denominations hold these types of services.

It was billed as for anyone suffering from any kind of loss or grief, whether it was loss of job, marriage, health or loved one due to death. The primary focus was those grieving loss of loved ones due to death.

Some churches tie it to the winter solstice, longest night closer to Dec 21, so if you are interested it may still be available somewhere in your community.

It was about a 30 minute service. The church was decorated for Christmas, but not in full regalia for Christmas pageant or eve. More subtle and just greenery/candles.

There was music, but more soothing than rejoicing ala Joy to the World style.

The program where we attended was interactive with responsive readings between the pastor/congregation; scripture readings with a short "message" of interpretation from the pastor, and a few hymns.

There was a candle lighting which I think was tied to Advent, but I must have missed that instruction growing up lol, because it wasn't quite clear to me. In any case, there was an interactive thing where altar candles were lit from the main candles representing Grief, Courage(needed to move forward), Memories, Love. The congregation was invited to come forward, light a wick from which ever candle they wanted and then light a candle on the chair rail altar while speaking the name of their lost loved one.

Kind of funny, but my mom who read through the program as soon as we sat down, told me I might have to do the candle lighting for her because she might not be able to walk all the way to the altar. She didn't raise no fool lol and I knew it was because she wasn't quite clear on the rules and also just intimidated by the whole thing lol. So, I told her don't worry, hubby will walk you up there.

In the end, a man in the front pew, got up and led the way and the rest of the congregation followed. We all went up with hubby lending my mom support. (They did make clear that anyone who really couldn't walk up they would bring the candles to). There was a bit of confusion and the usual, some people couldn't get their wicks to light, etc. But, people wanted to perform the ritual and my own mother asked me which candle represented grief so she could light from it. I also heard others speaking names or mom/dad, etc. So, people did find meaning in it.

Overall, it was a very sweet ceremony, the value of which was imo, a quiet peaceful respite from the hullaboo of Christmas that can be especially difficult/stressful if you are grieving. It was also a total kindness zone......everyone there was hurting in some way and very kind/gentle with everyone else.

How interesting, never heard of this...

Hope your mom was comforted...you too. Condolences on the death of your father.
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Old Today, 12:07 PM
 
6,086 posts, read 2,772,695 times
Reputation: 5331
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatblueheron View Post
How interesting, never heard of this...

Hope your mom was comforted...you too. Condolences on the death of your father.
Thank you.

Yes, it was comforting. My husband told me later he asked her if it helped her feel close to my father and she told him "Yes".

Couple of her friends were there as well because they lost their husbands this year and she attended another regular event with them the next day. I spoke to her yesterday and she said they all liked the service and were glad they went.

I had thought it might be too sad, and there was a lot of sniffling at various times, but the tempo of the service was such that it didn't really provoke full blown sobbing. And, there were uplifting moments. Adding dinner and happy family time tipped the balance to more neutral/happy moments than sad ones. For me, that's the key to healing from sad/bad times.
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