A moment of spiritual lifting-up for anyone feeling blue at Christmas starts at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley.
This inclusive Blue Christmas service allows people feeling loss and grief to acknowledge that pain. Losses may include relationship, job, health and even faith. People may even blame God for their troubles.
That’s OK, God can handle it.
“If you’re feeling blue or you’re not connecting with the joy of the season, if you’re feeling lonely, adrift, separated from people, grieving, out of step, this may be a service for you,” said the Rev. Bill Wong, interim pastor at PEACE.
The central message of the service: God accompanies us in our sorrow as well as in our joy. Faith, restored, brings light to our darkness and courage to our journey.
Through music, song, prayer, the lighting of candles and Bible readings, this service also offers the hope of a loving and compassionate God. It assures participants that their spirits can heal. Participants also can write down their prayer concerns for lifting up.
Faith communities increasingly offer a December service that addresses the needs of those feeling the pain of loss. People often feel their own pain in even greater contrast amid the consumer frenzy and greeting-card joy peddled by commercialized Christmas.
WHEN YOU FEEL ABANDONED BY GOD
Even Jesus felt that God had abandoned him.
Blue Christmas at PEACE includes a reading of Psalm 22, written by the Israelite hero David during one of his own dark periods. Jesus repeated the opening words of the psalm when he hung, suffering, on a cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
But participants will be pointed toward God’s steady, loving and merciful presence with humanity since the beginning of time.
The service also draws on hymns and other readings that call on God to “kindle our hearts and awaken hope.” It reminds us of God’s power to reveal divinity in our lives and throughout the world.
“We look for a connection with a loving, caring, embracing God,” Wong said.
PEACE offers Blue Christmas free of charge.