Cherry Grove United Methodist Church will host its fourth annual Blue Christmas Service at 7 p.m. on Saturday, 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 a burden of sadness. This service offers a way to claim those feelings and still know the compassionate love of God.
The term “Blue Christmas” reflects the emotion of the song popularized by Elvis Presley. Some congregations call it a “Longest Night” service because it occurs on the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. The name also applies to those who are going through a “long dark night of the soul” in which memories of past experiences and the pain of present circumstances can become overwhelming. The constant refrain at this time of year about the happiness of the season reminds some people of what they have lost or have never had, and can make them feel especially sad and alone in the midst of all of the celebrating. The Blue Christmas Service is for people who may not be in the mood for the cultural message that “everything is shiny and happy for Christmas.” The goal is to provide a place and time to know the comfort of God’s presence for those who mourn and for those who struggle, and to know that they are not alone.
This special service of scripture, music, candlelight and prayer is designed to acknowledge 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. Cherry Grove Church is handicapped accessible.