Blue Christmas service- your suggestions/advice??
Posted Nov 28, 2012 - 9:18 am
Posted Nov 29, 2012 - 4:28 am
I have done Blue Christmas/Longest Night services for many years now. They have always been well received, but not always well attended. Don't let that bother you. Depending on your area, 6 -12 people will be all you will have. But for those 6 to 12, you have done a great thing.
Things that help...Don't be afraid of a slow pace, one punctuated with a gentle silence. The calm, peaceful safe place where thoughts and tears can express themselves.
Simple services one with a simple action of remembrance (usually with candles) is very effective. If you are from a liturgical tradition, let the dark blues and purples of advent speak loudly, things feel very dark for some people right now. Acknowledge that darkness. Hope shines like a small light, glowing bright, guiding us from the other side.
Avoid the organist I had a few years ago, who insisted that we were there to "cheer people up" and wanted more joyful christmas hymns sung and not the quieter "depressing" advent and Christmas hymns. (Oy vey was she in denial about the point of having such a service!)
Let scripture speak to the feeling of loss and helplessness/hopelessness that some people are feeling. I remind people that the nativity of Jesus was not the joyful story our Christmas pageants portray....unwed pregnancy, homelessness, persecution and exile (and with it loss of job and home), murder/death of babies, selfish/self-centered politics and unfair taxes etc. And yet our God comes to us in human form and is with us in the midst of all this ....bringing COMFORT as well as joy. Comfort is the Good News at a Blue Christmas Service.
Refreshments after the service are not usually well received. Lots of hugs and listening and an open offer for some 1:1 listening support whenever the worshiper feels they might need it is welcome.
Yes there are alot of wonderful ideas around the internet....poetry, litanies, meditations, music suggestions etc. Don't be afraid to use them. Just remember that there is always "next year". A few things can be helpful as a "take home" item rather than for use in the service. For folks who are grieving, the poem "I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year." has been VERY popular with people in my parishes. It's not very theologically sound (for worship that is) but I defend it under "pastoral care".
(I include it in a "thinking of you at Christmas" grief card I send out to family I know have lost a loved one during the year. That poem alone brings more people to my door, even if only for 5-10 minutes. It helps facilitate the healing. If you are interested in the grief cards, you can order them from Creative Communications, either individually or in a set of 5 cards to be used throughout the first year after a death. (Link below to the shepherd guides cards. Note this is the 'Protestant version' of the site. There is a 'Catholic version' of the site as well. Although many of the resources are exactly the same.)
Hope this helps, at least to get you started. Happy to discuss further if you'd like.
Blessings on your ministry
Posted Dec 5, 2012 - 9:41 am
Posted Dec 12, 2012 - 3:42 am
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users