For those starting the holiday season with personal grief, the Longview United Methodist Church will hold a “Blue Christmas” service at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Pastor Allison Mattocks said it will be a compassionate service, as the holidays can sometimes be very difficult for people who have had a significant loss.
“With the mindset of all the festivities, that highlights their loss and their sense of being disconnected,” Mattocks said. “The service is to allow people space for being in that in-between place.”
Mattocks said the service will be a chance for people to feel like their loss is being honored and recognized at the start of the busy holiday season, which is why the church decided to hold the service so early in the year. Typically, “Blue Christmas” services are held on the longest night of the year, which is around Dec. 21 on the Winter Solstice.
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“(The 21st) is so late in the season that it highlights (the loss) for people, and gives them two, almost three weeks of suffering rather than being in a space where they can experience community and know that there are others who are experiencing a sense of loss,” Mattocks said. “And maybe then they can find a way to participate in holidays, but at the same time be real about how they’re feeling.”
The service is done with a sense of solemnity, Mattocks said, with subdued music to give people space to grieve, cry and vocalize their sense of loss.
“Music is important part of this service,” Mattocks said. “Music can give people voice to things that are so deep in their hearts they can’t even” express in words. “There’s time for quiet and prayer, but people won’t be left to wallow in hopelessness. That’s not the purpose of this service. It is to be able to point to hope.”
The Longview United Methodist Church is at 2851 30th Ave., Longview.