I’ll Have a Blue Christmas…

//I’ll Have a Blue Christmas…
Sometimes the lyrics from “Blue Christmas”, famously performed by Elvis Presley, ring truer than the typical Christmas carols playing on the radio, or sung in church this month. While for many, Advent and Christmas bring a season of joy and celebration, not everyone feels the same cheerful delight for this time of year. Sorrows like grief, illness, ageing, depression, loneliness, unemployment, loss and stress can all feel magnified during this time of the year.
The Blue Christmas Service at Grace Lutheran Church in Chesapeake is there for people who are struggling with the joys of the holiday to receive comfort and healing, “This is a place to come and be honest about how you’re feeling,” explained Pastor Leslie Scanlon of Grace, Chesapeake, who has held Blue Christmas services at the congregation since 2015. The service includes the reading of Scripture, singing hymns, and prayers stations.

The prayers stations offer a variety of ways to pray and reflect during the service, providing prayer stones, adult coloring sheets for meditative prayer, opportunity to write confidential prayer slips, to indicate on a map where prayer is being focused, as well as well as to light candles in memory of someone who has died or in prayer for someone who is struggling.

“The service makes visible the silent hurt that is present in all of our congregations. It’s very easy to unintentionally brush under the rug, especially at this time of year,” said Pastor Leslie. One of the most meaningful stations provided during the service is the anointing station. At this station, Pastor Leslie invites those present to take a seat across from her, asking if there’s anything specific she can pray for with them. She also anoints them with a blessing, telling them they are a beloved child of God.
Pastor Leslie emphasizes that the Blue Christmas service also serves as an opportunity for support systems to those who are enduring challenging times to be present in prayer, “This service stands as a tangible, physical reminder that we are all gathered around praying for one another,” she said.

For Grace, Chesapeake this is a particularly meaningful service to pray for one another, as the congregation has an ongoing ministry that holds one another in prayer throughout the year, “during this time of year we can get so busy and forget how this season affects others. It’s important to make space where it’s okay to feel hurt, and not forced to be happy,” said Pastor Leslie.

This year, the service is being held at Grace Lutheran on December 21st. The timing of the service is purposeful, as the 21st is the winter solstice and darkest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. On this darkest day of the year, the congregation and surrounding community at Grace are invited to come with honest yearnings, seeking the return of light and hope.

All who might be helped by such a service are invited to attend at Grace Lutheran Church in Chesapeake on The Longest Night, Thursday, December 21 at 7:00 PM.
A similar service, Blessed are Those Who Mourn: a Christmas Evening Prayer of Remembrance and Hope, is also being held at First Lutheran Church in Norfolk Sunday, December 17 at 4:00 PM.
By | 2017-12-15T12:10:14+00:00 December 15th, 2017|News|Comments Off on I’ll Have a Blue Christmas…

About the Author:

Emily Pilat is the Director of Communications for the Virginia Synod. She is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington where she earned her BA in in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, and a minor in Digital Studies. If you have an announcement, upcoming event, or news story idea you would like to share, get in touch with Emily via email [email protected] or by phone (540) 389-1000