WILMINGTON — Feeling blue this Christmas? You’re not alone. Churches from around the Wilmington community will be gathering at Clinton Memorial Hospital on Thursday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. for just that reason.
As you might have known from listening to classic holiday songs like John Lee Hooker’s Blues for Christmas, the season of tinsel and twinkles and Christmas cheer doesn’t speak to everyone. While the broader culture is singing about hope and peace and joy, many find that their own circumstances leave them feeling a little, well… blue.
Some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, finding that their sadness grows greater as the daylight hours grow shorter. Others react negatively to the commercialized aspect of Christmas, or lack the financial resources to provide their families with the Christmas of their dreams.
The convivial gatherings of family and friends at Christmastime can also trigger feelings of loneliness among those who lack a place to gather. People sometimes find that the celebrations of the Christmas season cause them to reflect on the seeming inadequacies of their own lives. They may be estranged from family, or from dear friends, or simply feel that the passing year did not go as planned.
And then, of course, there are those who are dealing with physical sickness and death. Being ill is never a treat, but it can be emotionally taxing to be receiving chemotherapy or waiting for surgery over Christmas. Families who have called for hospice care for a loved one find that decision particularly difficult around the holiday season, and grief at the loss of a loved one can be compounded when that loss is suffered during a season of celebration and joy.
It’s out of this sort of seasonal grief that the tradition of the Blue Christmas service has risen. It’s typically celebrated on the evening of Dec. 21 because this is the longest night of the year.
The aim of the Blue Christmas service is not to be merry and bright, but rather to extend the reach of Christian fellowship to those who are suffering during the holiday season.
The local celebration of this service was initiated by members at Wilmington Friends Meeting, where the annual service has been hosted for the past two years under the care of the Wilmington Area Ministerial Association.
Julie Rudd, pastor at Wilmington Friends Meeting, says, “I’m so glad to see this service moving into an ecumenical space like CMH. This will expand our ability to reach those who need to hear a message of hope in their suffering.”
The Wilmington Area Ministerial Association invites all to join us for this Blue Christmas service at Clinton Memorial Hospital at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21.