St. Mary’s plans ‘When Christmas Feels Blue’ service

Published 12:01 am Saturday, December 8, 2012

The idea for a special holiday service came to the Rev. Cindy Howard of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church from parishioners.

“A couple of them went to the butterfly release that a local hospice does,” Howard said. “They talked about how it was helpful to them, and wondered if we might do another kind of thing that could be helpful, because the holidays can be difficult for those who have suffered loss.”

Howard began talking to people in the community who agreed that there are lots of reasons people might need quiet space, full of hope and peace at Christmastime.

The result is a weeknight service planned for Tues., Dec. 18, “When Christmas Feels Blue.”

And it’s not just for people who’ve suffered the loss of a loved one.

“There are all kinds of stresses that occur at Christmas,” Howard said. “There are difficult family situations and other disappointments.”

The loss of a job, separation from family through divorce, or the loss of one’s own health also can contribute to unhappy feelings. And feelings of sadness are magnified by the expectation that everything about the Christmas season should be happy, she said.

“All of the ads on television feature happy, intact families,” she said. “In everything we see, everybody’s supposed to be happy. If we have any moment of loss or sadness, or a feeling of loss or sadness, we think there’s something wrong with us.

“The reality is, nothing is wrong with you,” she said. “Since all of us carry around wounds and losses, this is very normal.”

Almost every service in the Episcopal Church includes the Eucharist, or holy communion. To ensure that all feel comfortable and welcome, this service is non-denominational. There will be no Eucharist or sermon.

“There will be reading of scripture, the singing of carols, and the lighting of candles of remembrance,” Howard said. “This is not a sad service, but a service that recognizes wounds and brokenness, and looks to the hope in the Christmas story and in the Easter story as well.”

The service will be followed with refreshments and fellowship in the church hall.

St. Mary’s is located at 1307 E. Three Notch St. The service is set for 6 p.m. Tues., Dec. 18.