While it’s hard to admit, I love sappy holiday movies.
This means that I have already been spending many evenings watching one of the Hallmark channel’s many Christmas movies. These movies are predictable: the endings are happy, loose ends are always tied up, and the community comes together joyfully to celebrate the lighting of the community Christmas tree.
This is a fine formula for movies, but for many of us, holidays bring sadness. The hope of the season is smothered by a sense of loss or a feeling of loneliness. We might go through the motions of the holidays, but it is hard to experience joy when your heart is broken.
Longest Night or Blue Christmas Services are held in December on or near the Winter Solstice, the longest night of each year. This year, this falls on Saturday, December 8. As the name implies, Blue Christmas services provide a way for people to acknowledge their feelings of pain and loss which are often magnified by holidays.
For the rest of us whose holiday is overflowing with happiness, Blue Christmas services reminds us that holidays are difficult for and dreaded by many people. Gathering on the longest night of the year can help us be more empathetic with one another, and it can help us to live in a more understanding way with the members of our faith community.
This is Butch Odom for Church Health.