GALION — The holiday season can be a trying time for people who have lost loved ones or friends.
Oftentimes, the pain of loss is exacerbated during what is generally a time of celebration for most people.
Christ United Methodist Church in Galion and Woodlawn United Methodist Church in Bucyrus are teaming up to offer a service of healing and hope for people who might be struggling this season. The online “blue” Christmas service will be presented at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 21 by Rev. Heather McLeod, pastor of Christ United Methodist, and Rev. Sean McLeod, pastor of Woodlawn United Methodist.
Rev. Heather McLeod said blue Christmas services are traditionally held on the day of the winter solstice, which generally occurs on or around Dec. 21.
“The blue Christmas service is alternatively known as the ‘longest night,’ and is traditionally done on the 21st because it is the longest night of the year; the first day of winter where the darkness lasts the longest,” she said. “It superimposes a literal darkness with an emotional darkness. Also being the week of Christmas, that’s a good time to reflect and remember.”
Rev. Sean McLeod said the service will include scripture reading, a time of prayer, and times of reflection.
“The whole idea is that you’re providing comfort for people for whom this time of the year is not very comforting for whatever reason,” he said. “Usually, it’s because they’ve lost their loved one at this time of year, not necessarily at Christmas, but maybe Thanksgiving or New Year’s, or sometime during the holiday season.”
“Or maybe they’ve lost a loved one during any time of the year they’re now facing the first holiday season without that person, which is difficult,” Rev. Heather McLeod added.
The service includes a candle-lighting ceremony during which participants will light a candle representing their grief, love, and faith.
“The concept is that you’re lighting up the darkness caused by loss,” Rev. Heather McLeod said. “You’re adding light to the darkness. … For people who are grieving, this is a chance to kind of let it out, to have a safe place to acknowledge the pain. And the most important thing is to understand that the Christ Child comes, not just to make all of our days merry and bright, but to heal us from sin and from pain and from misery. That’s the whole reason for the season, right there.”
The blue Christmas service will be streamed live on both the Christ United Methodist Church and Woodlawn United Methodist Church Facebook pages.
For information about the blue Christmas service, go to Galion Christ United Methodist Church or Woodlawn UMC Bucyrus on Facebook.
Follow @AndrewACCarter on Twitter.