Turlock First United Methodist Church began offering a special Blue Christmas Services last year and decided to keep the tradition during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic by using several virtual platforms starting at 12 noon on Monday, December 21, 2020. CLICK HERE for YouTube link.
“The service is intended to offer hope for the holidays by providing time for peaceful reflection and quiet contemplation – in the midst of a pandemic. There will be time to pray and listen to scripture. There will be music,” states the Turlock church message online. “There will be opportunity to reflect on the season – on both darkness and light – and to remember the people and circumstances we miss and lift up prayers for those who are struggling in this season.”
And Turlock is not the only church to host such an event this December.
Christ Church UMC in Santa Rosa will be hosting a Zoom service with the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Santa Rosa on Thursday, December 17 at 6:00 p.m. CLICK HERE for Zoom link.
“Christmas can be joyful. Christmas can also be difficult, especially this year. Christmas can be a time we remember the hurting places of our world and our lives. It can be a time when we experience grief or miss most profoundly those who we yearn to have beside us,” states the Christ church website. “We do not have to hide these important pieces of our lives or pretend that we are fine and festive when we are hurting inside. Blue Christmas is a time to honor the complexity of this season, and to pray for justice and restoration, trusting that “God will set things right all over the earth.”(2 Samuel 2:10, The Message).”
Carson City First UMC will be holding a 30-minute outdoor in-person service (in doors if it is raining) at 200 N. Division, Carson City, Nevada on Sunday, Dec 20 at 7:00 p.m. A recording of the service will be made available on the church following the event. CLICK HERE for YouTube link.
“The joy of the season can magnify feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression,” notes San Jose UMC in their announcement of a special Zoom service on Sunday, December 20 at 7:00 p.m. To get the link, email the church office HERE. “The pandemic has resulted in unimaginable losses this year — loss of life, loss of jobs, loss of day-to-day routines, loss of activities, loss of visiting with friends, loss of pre-COVID church, loss of spending the holidays with family, and many other losses. Local, national, and global problems can contribute to feelings of anger, despair, and hopelessness as well. Blue Christmas is a time to acknowledge such pain, sadness, and grief in a sacred space that reminds us we are not alone.”
“Our Blue Christmas Celebration is always on the longest night of the year, the night of the winter solstice,” states Rev. George Edd-Bennett serving First UMC in Lodi, California. Lodi is posting a service at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 21, entitled, “Blue Christmas—Longest Night Service. CLICK HERE for Facebook link. “This important event allows people to provide space for the feelings of sadness or grief or disappointment that creep into our thoughts when we are trying to celebrate a Holiday that has expectations of great joy.”
“It is our tradition to light candles during the service in memory of those who are no longer walking this earth,” stated the posting at Centennial UMC in Stockton hosting a service on Facebook and YouTube CLICK HERE with posting starting at 6:00 p.m. Since it is online, it can be viewed at any time after the posting. “2020 has been a difficult year for so many, with grief, loss, and hardship. Maybe this year you are having a hard time putting up the Christmas tree or getting your decorations out. Maybe the holidays are always hard for you. If you are in search of hope and healing, we invite you to find it in this service of prayer, music, reflection, and light.”
Reno First UMC will hosting a live service by a Zoom link at 6:00 p.m. on that Monday. To get the link, email the church office HERE.
“God comes to us wherever we are, and we invite you to know there is a place for you in this season, too,” states the website at Los Altos UMC announcing a livestream service at 7:00 p.m. on Monday. To find the online livestream page CLICK HERE. “Find solace, safety, warmth, and welcome if you are suffering in your heart during this season, feeling overwhelmed, or in need of quiet reflection.”
Pastor April Sousa of Church of the Joyful Healer in McKinleyville, California is holding a Zoom service at 7:00 p.m. on Monday and is asking people to register ahead of time to receive the Zoom link HERE.
First UMC, Santa Rosa is also providing a link to their Monday, 7:00 p.m. Zoom service HERE.
“Even as Christians around the world anticipate the coming of Christ during the season of Advent, they need to be mindful that for many the holidays are not always merry and bright,” explains the UMC Discipleship Ministries website. “Whether dealing with recent tragedy or hardship or scars from previous years, for many the holidays can bring the blues.”
Below are resources from the website:
Published by The Upper Room, “Blue Christmas: Devotions of Light in a Season of Darkness” by Todd Outcalt can help those experiencing grief, sorrow, depression, anxiety or loneliness find hope and comfort this Advent. The book has devotions for each of 28 days of Advent. Each entry includes scripture, a prayer and suggested daily practices.
Other resources for comforting those in pain during Advent and Christmas:
When it is not the most wondrous time ...
Chuck Knows Church: Blue Christmas