Members of the clergy from Chester Friends Meeting, The Presbyterian Church of Wilmington, Springfield Friends Meeting, Wilmington Friends Meeting, and The Wilmington United Methodist Church are gathering at Wilmington Friends Meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21 to host a Blue Christmas Service. All are invited to attend.
Blue Christmas services are typically hosted on Dec. 21 because it’s the night of the winter solstice — the longest night of the year. They’re offered as a specific outreach to people in the community who are struggling with grief during the Christmas season, perhaps due to loss of a loved one, or an illness like depression or cancer, or the loss of an important relationship, or a difficult life transition.
Julie Rudd, pastor at Wilmington Friends meeting, said, “Christmas is meant to be a time of joy! When people are hurting, though, being surrounded by lights and happy music and festivities can make their pain worse — it’s as though someone is demanding that they feel a celebratory spirit that they simply don’t have. We believe that the Christmas story is one of Christ choosing to be our light in dark times, and so we want to be mindful of all who are sitting in the darkness this Christmas season.”
Craig Dove, Wilmington community member and Staff Chaplain at OhioHealth Hospice, noted that the holidays are often a time when old griefs resurface. “A major loss might be fairly well normalized for most of the year, but anticipating a missing face around the Christmas table or not being able to engage in a beloved holiday tradition can suddenly and unexpectedly intensify the pain. Attending a service like this is one way to name and process some of that grief, and can allow people to participate more deeply and joyfully in other holiday activities.”
This year, the service will include a special Advent wreath lighting, Scripture readings, traditional carols, and a Blue Rock Ritual led by Rev. Debbie Linville of The Presbyterian Church of Wilmington. Wilmington Friends Meeting is a wheelchair-accessible building, and those with questions or concerns about accessibility are encouraged to call the church’s office at 937-382-2349 for more information.