Recognizing the Longest Night at Home, aka Blue Christmas

blue-nativity

A Blue Christmas Service is offered especially for those hurting during the holidays. It’s often offered on December 21st, the longest night of the year. 

You may not have such a service in your area or are able to get to a service due to weather, health, or some other circumstance. It’s my hope this resource will be helpful to you.

There are many reasons you may need a remembrance like this at this time of year. Maybe you’re mourning the death of a loved one. Maybe you’re far from home. Maybe you or someone you love is suffering from illness, addiction, or estrangement. Maybe you’re lonely, struggling financially, or in conflict with someone. Maybe you’re recovering from a storm or other natural disaster. Maybe you’re hurting because of the great pain, need, and violence in our nation and world.

This is a moment, a safe space, to acknowledge the truth of what we’re feeling and going through. Here we don’t have to be strong. 

This is a moment, to pause in the midst of suffering to remember God is good. God is strong. God is near. We are not alone and we have every reason to hold on to hope.

Set-Up
A quiet place by yourself or with others
Play some soft, instrumental music in the background 
A candle to light 
Optional: Tissues, Journal/Paper, and Pen

Opening Prayer
Merciful God,
In this season of rejoicing, we come to you weary and grieving
In this season of feasting, we hunger for healing and relief
In this season of light, our hearts are veiled in sorrow and shadow
Will this season ever end?

“Yes.” We hear your, “Yes.”
Those who are weary will find rest
Those who mourn will be comforted
Those who hunger will be filled
The Light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness will not overcome it.

Lighting the Christ Candle
Strike a match and light the white candle

We welcome you O Christ, Light of the World. In the midst of our suffering, help us to worship you in spirit and in truth.

Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-5, The Voice Translation
On this humbled ground,
a tiny shoot, hopeful and promising, will sprout from Jesse’s stump
a branch will emerge from his roots to bear fruit.
And on this child from David’s line, the Spirit of the Eternal One will alight and rest.
By the Spirit of wisdom and discernment, He will shine like the dew.
By the Spirit of counsel and strength, He will judge fairly and act courageously.
By the Spirit of knowledge and reverence of the Eternal One,
He will take pleasure in honoring the Eternal.
He will determine fairness and equity;
He will consider more than what meets the eye,
And weigh in more than what he’s told.
So that even those who can’t afford a good defense
will nevertheless get a fair and equitable judgment.
With just a word, He will end wickedness and abolish oppression.
With nothing more than the breath of His mouth, He will destroy evil.
He will clothe himself with righteousness and truth
The impulse to right wrongs will be in his blood.

Pause to reflect on the scripture reading. Journal or doodle if you like.

Prayer: In the Light of God’s Love
This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of truth.
There is no need to hide or deny. God welcomes us as we are.

Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. ~Psalm 86:1

Pause to reflect, journal, or doodle.

This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of lament.
We recognize our wounds and cry out to God.
We accept God’s invitation to express every feeling and question.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest. ~ Psalm 22:1-2

Offer your lament to God silently, out loud, or in your journal. Be honest and specific.

This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of courage.
Courage to be honest, to seek help, to comfort one another.
Courage to dare to love and dream again.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song, I give thanks to him. ~ Psalm 28:7

Continue to pray silently, out loud, or in your journal. 

This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of hope.
God is good. God is strong. God is near,
leading us to a day without tears and pain, without sin and death.
Healing and deliverance are coming; if not now, then on that day.

By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas. ~Psalm 65:5

Jesus, you are full of compassion, you understand our pain. Our suffering changes our experience of you and the celebration of your birth. We are caught between remembering happier times and grieving what might have been. In our loss, we feel cut off- disconnected, adrift, alone.

Root us in your steadfast love. Anchor us in your faithful promises.
Hold us, and all who weep this holy season throughout the world.
offer prayers for the world

Prayer: For Grace to Bear Suffering
I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings as Christ bore his for me
With Dignity
Humility
Forgiveness

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings as Christ bore his for me
With Compassion
Truth
Enduring

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings as Christ bore his for me
Knowing my sufferings are not like his
and not like others
yet shared with the universal longings of all humanity
Real and Painful and Deep
No need for comparison
Only companionship

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings as Christ bore his for me
As Christ bore his for all
All I will ever suffer
All we all will ever suffer
Will be made known
Will be made whole
Through his love and self-giving

In this, I believe
and trust
and follow
and hope
In this, I am made new
Thanks be to God!
Hallelujah!
Amen!

***********

Recognizing the Longest Night at Home © 2022 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in devotional settings with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

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