No, really. How are you?
Are you doing all right, in your Christmas of white? Has it been a year filled with blessings and prosperity, with your nearest and dearest gathered around you as you all enjoy a season of remembrance and joy?
Or, like me, are you disovering that the decorations of red on a green Christmas tree just aren’t the same in the wake of a life-altering loss?
For readers not necessarily having a holly jolly Christmas (pause) this year, an Associated Press story headlined “Churches offer ‘Blue Christmas’ for those in need” might grab your attention instead.
That’s a good thing, as this story did justice to the trend of congregations offering more reflective, candlelit services designed for those who have experienced a loss or traumatic event and find all the festivity of the season too much to handle:
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The crowd was small for a Christmastime church service, the atmosphere quiet and solemn. There were no joyous carols, no children dressed as nativity characters, no festive decorations.
About two dozen people gathered Monday night for a “Blue Christmas” service at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis. It’s among many nationwide providing a special service aimed directly at those in need of spiritual healing — whether due to divorce, tough economic times, the loss of a loved one or whatever has them feeling down at the holidays.
Charles Brown, 35, is still grieving the loss of his mother, who died in June of congestive heart failure. After Monday’s service, Brown stuck around to be anointed with oil and for private words of healing from one of the pastors.
“He told me God is with me, God will bless me,” Brown said. “I feel like this was a chance to lay my burden down. It gave me comfort.”
The report, though short, did a nice job exploring the psychology behind the need for the services and sharing thoughts from those who organize and had attended. It also represented well different faith groups and traditions: