When our hearts are heavy, hearing Christmas songs that describes “the most wonderful time of the year” rings a bit hollow. Instead we might feel we are living the lyrics of the 1957 hit “Blue Christmas” when Elvis Presley sings, “I’ll have a blue Christmas without you. I’ll be so blue just thinking about you.” Yet, even in the midst of this pain, there is the desire to somehow connect with God. We often feel afraid, angry, ashamed. That’s OK. God is there with us in our pain. Putting words to this season can often be difficult, but we do this together in our address to God.
Hope Community Church of Rockford will again be celebrating a “Blue Christmas” this year for those who are coping with grief, loss, worry or fears. It may be the first Christmas without a loved family member who has recently died, or it may be filled with stress related to loss of employment or a broken relationship, or serious illness. The constant refrains on radio and television, in shopping malls and churches, about the happiness of the season, about getting together with family and friends, reminds many people of what they have lost or what they are missing. The anguish of the death of a loved one can make us feel alone in the midst of everyone else celebrating. We need the space and time to acknowledge our sadness or emptiness; we need to know that we are not alone. We need encouragement to live the days ahead of us.
The Blue Christmas service is a bit quieter, with a couple of softer Advent and Christmas hymns, Scripture readings, special prayers and experiences where we can give God our burdens that are hard to carry. The service is shorter than normal worship and, at Hope, does not include a sermon.
If your heart is heavy, or you wish to give the gift of encouraging presence to those that are, attend the special Blue Christmas worship service on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. at Hope Community Church, 7000 Myers Lake Ave., Rockford (quarter mile north of Belding Rd.). For more information, contact the church at (616) 874-4673 or www.hoperockford.org.