Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas” was a lilting, gently clever song, lamenting a holiday spent without a loved one.
The Saugatuck and Methodist Church’s combined “Blue Christmas Service” is much more serious. It’s also far more important — and uplifting.
Set for this Sunday (December 15, 4 p.m., United Methodist Church), it’s a much-needed recognition that for many people, holiday emotions run a lot deeper than enjoying “decorations of red on a green Christmas tree.”
“Many people are not happy at this time of year, when we are ‘supposed’ to be this or that,” says Linda Bruce, who is planning the worship along with Saugatuck’s Rev. Alison Patton and Methodist minister Rev. Ed Horne. Members of both congregations are also involved in the preparations.
This month, Linda says, “people face their longest nights. They are burdened with sorrow, loneliness and sadness. The service will say, ‘It’s okay to feel bad. And you are not alone.'”
A candlelight atmosphere will provide “quiet, contemplative space to be authentic to self, and open to God,” Linda says.
“Folks can drop their masks of good cheer and sit quietly. They can let tears flow in a safe, comforting space.” The worship service will provide a place to “set down burdens, where prayers can be heard and healing may begin to take hold.”
Both Pastor Alison and Rev. Horne have planned and hosted Blue Christmas or Longest Night services in the past, on or around the winter solstice and Advent. This year’s event falls the day after the 1st anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings.
“The night is always the darkest the moment before the first light appears,” Linda notes. “The new day does come, yet we sit in the bleakness of doubt.”
All Westporters — whether lonely, grieving, struggling, unemployed, uninspired or just blue — are welcome to this service of music, prayer and reflection, by the glow of candlelight.
(For more information click here, or call 203-227-4707.)