Blue at Christmas? Service designed for those who don’t feel happy in holidays

Published 12:25 am Thursday, December 14, 2017

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church will host its sixth annual Christmas service for those who have a little trouble with the holiday at 6:30 p.m. on Tues., Dec. 19.

The service began in 2012, and was the idea of parishioners who had participated in a butterfly release and found it helpful. They were looking for a similar event to help others who had suffered loss, the Rev. Cindy Howard, rector of St. Mary’s, said.

There are lots of reasons people might need quiet space, full of hope and peace at Christmastime. The service, “When Christmas Feels Blue,” isn’t just for people who’ve suffered the loss of a loved one, she said.

“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.