A Beautiful Addition to the Advent Season for Small Churches

For many, Christmas is not ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ (as the song goes). A Blue Christmas Service can offer some healing and hope.

The idea behind the Blue Christmas Service is to create space for the acknowledgment of the heaviness often carried during this season, as well as offering the hope that Jesus gives. 

Our society has become one of masking emotions that are sometimes considered negative. The Bible clearly acknowledges, celebrates, and makes space for pain, struggle, hardship, and tears – and so should we. 

Science, too, is catching up to the Bible as recent studies confirm that the “claim-your-happiness” pop psychology isn’t healthy for us physically, socially, or spiritually – and that putting on a smile without making space for the tough stuff of life actually leads to more (and deeper) unhappiness.

The Blue Christmas Service is a beautiful way to make space during the advent season for those suffering any kind of loss – whether the loss of a person, a dream, finances, stability, health, or more.

We’ve compiled a list of FAQs to share the heart of The Blue Christmas Service.

FAQs about The Blue Christmas Service

(also called The Service of the Longest Night)

What is a Blue Christmas Service?

A Blue Christmas Service is a quiet, contemplative service that usually happens on the evening of December 21, the winter solstice. This day, which has the longest night and the shortest day, is symbolic of our darker nights when we find ourselves grieving, lonely, or longing for something better. The Blue Christmas service is all about making space during a season that is noisy with celebration to acknowledge the “both/and” of our emotions. It’s an avenue of making space for beautiful pastoral care and compassionate community for those who are struggling. 

Where did the Blue Christmas Service originate?

If the concept of a Blue Christmas Service is new to you, you are not alone! We hosted our first Blue Christmas Service in 2017, and its origin is unclear and a bit fuzzy. Although it possibly originated among hospice centers in Canada, it became popular in the United Methodist Church denomination, and some Catholic Congregations had their own version of Blue Christmas masses as well. 

Is the name “Blue Christmas” connected with the Elvis song?

Before you continue singing the song, the Blue Christmas service has nothing to do with Elvis, but it does have to do with missing someone or something. A Blue Christmas Service makes room for sadness, loneliness, or loss during the holidays.

Isn’t Christmas supposed to be a happy time?

I have a friend who can’t stand the Blue Christmas Service concept. He declares that no one should be sad around the holidays and that we are just giving people a reason to dwell on sadness. I couldn’t disagree more. 

Although, on the other side of heaven, we absolutely will have a day of no more tears, the reality is life on this planet can be difficult. The holidays, for many, are NOT 100% happy. 

For those who have suffered loss, the holidays actually accentuate feelings of sadness. Being surrounded by happy Christmas carols and holiday parties may cause people to mask their feelings or even create some shame around having them. However, when a loved one is no longer present to celebrate the holiday, there is often guilt, sadness, and loneliness. 

Over the last few decades, scientific studies have revealed much about emotional and physical health – which I believe is simply science catching up to the Bible. By not making space for emotions that we might consider negative, we are literally causing physical ills, relational disconnect, and spiritual distance.

God made us human for a reason. And part of human-ness is having emotions – and a broad range of them. 

Is it Biblical to offer a space for sadness?

Making room for sadness, grief, and loss around Christmas is not a new concept. In fact, it dates way back in history and is the reason for the season of Advent. Advent is often called the season of waiting. What are we waiting for? Hope. The Messiah. A Savior.

Celebrating Advent is the recognition that we need a savior. That although the world may be dark, difficult, and lonely, there is a promise coming. That promise culminates in the birth of a baby. Recognizing our loss and making space for grieving doesn’t minimize the promise. It accentuates it. 

A Blue Christmas Service is a beautiful addition to the Christmas season. 

What elements are in a typical Blue Christmas Service?

A Blue Christmas Service typically has elements of quiet reflection, often accompanied by scripture, responsive readings, and liturgical elements. It’s a softer service with invitations to participate, but no directives. 

Often a simple supper follows as an extension of community and care. At our church, we’ve made homemade soup with rolls and a simple dessert. 

How can we host our own Blue Christmas Service?

It’s easy. This is a simple service that doesn’t need much prep or hype. If you have a few people willing to lead some readings and a person willing to lead a little bit of music (simple & acoustic), you can offer a really meaningful time.

A Ready-to-Use Blue Christmas Service Pack

We created a Blue Christmas Pack with everything you need to host a Blue Christmas Service, including a customizable service order, readings, suggested songs & videos, set up instructions, and more. 

Feel free to use it “as is” or breathe in your own creativity. I’m praying this service is a blessing to you and yours. 

Where did the resources in this pack come from?

The resources in this pack were created by the team at The Creative Little Church and copyrighted. These resources may be used by your local church but not distributed beyond that scope.

These resources are written and designed exclusively for this pack. They were created with you in mind, so small churches everywhere can have everything they need in one place to offer a beautiful worship service with simplicity and excellence. 

What does the Blue Christmas Service Pack include?

This made-for-you Blue Christmas Service Pack includes:

  1. Introduction to a Blue Christmas Service with FAQs
  2. Preparation & Set-Up Checklist
  3. Blue Christmas Service Order Template
  4. Blue Christmas Service Script with Full Readings
  5. Printable Blue Christmas Service Bulletin
  6. Social Media Promotion – Graphics
  7. Social Media Promotion – Captions (Swipe Copy)
  8. Printable Postcard Invitation
  9. Bulletin Announcements
  10. Suggested Song & Video links
  11. Decor Ideas with Images
  12. Printable Scripture Cards of Hope

More Advent & Christmas Blog Posts:

12 Ideas to Reach Out to the Hurting This Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas

6 Monologues for the Christmas Season

8 Worship Ideas to Celebrate the Meaning of Advent

5 Easy Tips For Children’s Christmas Program Success in Your Small Church