Blue Christmas (holiday)
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Blue Christmas, also called the Longest Night in the Western Christian tradition, is a day in the Advent season marking the longest night of the year. On this day, some churches hold a church service which recognizes that the holidays are sometimes "blue" or filled with difficult feelings around painful life events such as death, disease, poverty, or abuse. Some services may only honor people who have lost loved ones in that year, similar to an All Saint's Day service. The Holy Eucharist is traditionally a part of the service of worship on this day. This worship service is traditionally held on or around the longest night of the year, which falls on or about December 21, the Winter Solstice. There is an interesting convergence for this day as it is also the traditional feast day for Saint Thomas the Apostle. This linkage invites making some connections between Thomas's struggle to believe the tale of Jesus' resurrection, the long nights just before Christmas, and the struggle with darkness and grief faced by those living with loss.
The Worship often includes opportunities for expression of grief and pain as well as an opportunity to focus on the promise of hope. Candles, arranged as an Advent wreath, are lit at numerous occasions during the service; empty chairs are reserved as a way of commemorating those who have been lost during the previous year. The images of the winter solstice which include the longest night losing to the increasing longer day after midnight is a significant part of the imagery used in the elements of this particular worship event. There are growing resources and popularity around this tradition due to the relevance for many who struggle to find joy and hope during festive seasons.
- Milton, Ralph (2000). This United Church of Ours. Wood Lake Publishing Inc. p. 87. ISBN 9781551453897. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
Many congregations have a special week or so before Christmas. Some call it "Blue Christmas," while others call it, "The Longest Night," and some simply call it a "Service of Remembering."
- McCoy, Robb McCoy; Taylor Burton-Edwards. "A Service of Word and Table for Longest Night/Blue Christmas". General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) of The United Methodist Church. Archived from the original on 9 April 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- Quivik, Melinda A. (2005). A Christian Funeral: Witness to the Resurrection. Augsburg Books. p. 90. ISBN 9780806651484. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
an Advent evening eucharist (called Longest Night or Blue Christmas) that recognizes how hard the coming of Christmas can be for those who have buried a loved one during the past year.
- "A Blue Christmas Service: If You're Hurting at Christmas". Sacraparental. 2014-12-23. Retrieved 2019-12-18.
- Blue Christmas by Todd Outcalt
- Blue Christmas Resources - Church Health Reader
- Blue Christmas by the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD)
- Blue Christmas Liturgy by The Reverend Nancy C. Townley (Cokesbury)
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