What is Blue Christmas? Blue Christmas is an acknowledgment that Christmas isn’t joyful for everyone and that some people feel “blue,” often because of the loss of a loved one.
Many churches offer a Blue Christmas service. But what I have noticed is that the majority of churches offer Blue Christmas as a separate service apart from Sunday morning. In fact, that is how I was introduced to the concept.
After trying it once (unsuccessfully) as a separate service, I have moved to including it on a Sunday morning and have never regretted. Why would I want to include it on a Sunday morning?
Offering a separate Blue Christmas service will attract people who are self-aware enough to know that they must intentionally confront their grief. Such people exist and will attend this service.
What I find in offering it on a Sunday morning is that we reach people who don’t know they need Blue Christmas until they are already there at the service. This past week we had Blue Christmas at our church. In the service we provide the opportunity for people to come to the front to light a candle as a way to invite God to shine his light into their darkness. I would say we have 85-90 % participation in this. We also design the advent reflection and sermon to fit with this theme (you can find my message here).
I can understand having a separate Blue Christmas service as an attempt to reach the grieving who are outside the church. But I have found that having it as part of the Sunday morning service has been very powerful for our congregation.