Christmas is right around the corner. Children are wide eyed with the anticipation of gifts, goodies are being baked, holiday parties are being planned, and the stores are filled with the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers. Joy and excitement seem to be the mantra of the Christmas season. For some, however, the Christmas season is anything but joy and excitement. Instead, the holidays are a reminder of loved ones who have passed away, broken relationships, a longing for happy times in the past, and a marker of conflict and strife. Statistics show that depression and suicide often peak around the holidays as many people seem to feel as if they are drowning in these emotions of sorrow and grief.
There are many different ways for people to cope with these intense feelings as the holidays approach. For some, journaling about the memories of a loved one can ease the feelings of pain and loss. Some people engage in a holiday tradition that was special to a lost loved one in order to honor their memory. Others may find talking to a friend or mentor about how they are feeling can help. Another way to deal with these Christmas blues is to connect with others who are experiencing these same feelings. You can do this is by attending a “Blue Christmas” service at a local church.
I think all of us are familiar with the popular Elvis Christmas song, “Blue Christmas.” What you may not know is that “Blue Christmas” is also the name for an actual holiday on the Christian Advent calendar. “Blue Christmas,” also known as, “The Longest Sleep” falls on the longest night of the year, typically on or around December 21. This holiday has been set aside to recognize that for many, the Christmas season can be “blue” and filled with grief, pain, and suffering. Some local churches have begun to hold a “Blue Christmas” service, giving people a place to come and grieve with others. These services are designed to create a safe space for people to come together and acknowledge their pain and grief. Some services honor those individuals that have passed away in the past year. These services center around the truth that there is hope and healing amidst our pain and suffering. The services may also include the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper as a reminder of the hope that exists amidst earthly suffering.
One local Savannah church holds a “Blue Christmas” service that is open to the public each year. Isle of Hope Methodist is holding a “Blue Christmas” service on Tuesday, December 17th from 6:00-7:00 pm. If you feel that you could use a reminder of hope during the Christmas season, attending a “Blue Christmas” service may be a light in the darkness for you. As Christmas approaches, if you find that your blues are turning into feelings of helplessness and depression that are affecting your everyday life and relationships, please give us a call. Our therapists are here offering weekday, evening, and Saturday appointments, to offer you support as you deal with grief, pain, or loss over the holidays. Please call us at 912-319-5554. We would love to help you.