I recently learned that our local Presbyterian Church (1st Presbyterian of Sapulpa) was offering a Blue Christmas service for families during Advent. Some may ask, "Why would they do that? Isn't Christmas a season for celebration and joy? Who would attend a "blue" Christmas service?" Well the fact is many will (or should) attend.
Christmas is a time for celebration and joy but for many Christmas also brings sadness, heartache, and pain: There are many, during the season of Christmas, who are acutely aware of their grief and loss. These are people who have lost loved ones (either recently or sometimes long ago) and the Christmas season brings back memories of treasured times. For others the loss comes mainly from the reality of separation: they have loved ones who are deployed, loved ones whose occupations take them away from home during this season; or loved ones who have chosen to stay away due to family upset or misunderstanding. Then there are people who are "blue" during Christmas because of tension or conflict within the family: step families often feel this strain, in-laws who don't get along, and couples who are at odds due to finances, infidelity, and a host of other things.
So "thank you" 1st Pres. for offering a service to the community that addresses the needs of those who are experiencing a "blue" Christmas. Hopefully through this experience of worship the burdens that many feel will become lighter.
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.