Cherry Grove United Methodist Church will host its third annual Blue Christmas Service at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 21 for anyone in the area who may be feeling “blue” this Christmas. Christmas is considered to be a joyful time, but there are persons for whom the holidays are not entirely joyful; persons who are lonely, grieving, separated from family and friends or carrying burdens of sadness, anger, pain or fear. This service offers a way to claim those feelings and still know the compassionate love of God.
The term “Blue Christmas” reflects the sadness of the song popularized by Elvis Presley. Some congregations call it a “Longest Night” service because it occurs on the winter solstice, with the year’s least amount of daylight. It is a service for people who may not be in the mood for the cultural message that “everything is shiny and happy for Christmas.” It revives the historic meaning of the season of Advent leading up to Christmas. This season focuses on the longing for the coming of the kingdom of God begun by the birth of Jesus but still awaiting a future fulfillment.
This special service of scripture, music, candlelight and prayer acknowledges that, in the midst of our varied thoughts and emotions, God offers us hope and healing. Whether someone is grieving for a loved one, recovering from a trauma, carrying a burden, or feeling stressed and anxious, they are welcome to attend. The Blue Christmas Service is open to everyone and the goal is not to provide neat answers for why suffering occurs but to remind us of what is ultimately the message of Christmas — that the light of Christ shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.
Cherry Grove United Methodist Church is located at 18183 160th Street, in the small community of Cherry Grove, rural Spring Valley, Minn. The church is handicap accessible.