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Recognizing the Blue Christmas

Recognizing the Blue Christmas

Elvis song hits home for some; service aims to help

December 22nd, 2013 in News

Ice encapsulates a branch tip on the Jefferson City mayor's Christmas tree Saturday following the previous night's freezing rain. For those struggling emotionally with life's "icy" situations, others in the holiday spirit can be a stark contrast to feelings of loneliness or that no one cares about them.

Photo by Kris Wilson

Not everyone is feeling joyful during the Christmas season.

Some people may have lost a loved one since last Christmas. Another may not be welcome at his family's gatherings. Or a family may be dealing with financial shortcomings.

"We want to be a place where they can process those feelings," said the Rev. Michelle Scott-Huffman.

A Blue Christmas Service for the community will be extended at 7 p.m. Monday in Jefferson City at Table of Grace, which meets at 3328 Bennett Lane.

"Society says "suck it up' and "drive on,'" Scott-Huffman said. "But in reality, that's not how our hearts work."

By holding a dedicated service, it ritualizes the process and reveals that individuals are not alone in their feelings of being out-of-sorts or disconnected.

"It's a recognition that God is present with us in our suffering," Scott-Huffman said.

Many Psalms and scripture tell of man's lament and pain.

Through specially selected songs and Bible passages, the Blue Christmas service is designed "to let people know it's OK to be exactly where they are at; there's no need to pretend," she said.

The service is primarily contemplative with an element of darkness - an analogy that it's OK to be in darkness for a time, Scott-Huffman said.

Those who attend also see there are others for whom this Christmas season is not perfect, either.

This will be the third year Table of Grace has offered such a service. Often congregations will do something similar on Dec. 21 as a "Longest Night" service, she said.

Although the crowds normally are small, Scott-Huffman said she knows "this has a profound impact on their whole emotional and spiritual well-being for the holiday season."

For those struggling with life situations, others in the holiday spirit can be a stark contrast to their feelings of loneliness or that no one cares about them.

"For me, this is one of the most important times to recognize loss and sadness," Scott-Huffman said.

Even if someone isn't struggling this holiday season, they may become more aware of the varied feelings of those around them.

"The true meaning of Christmas is God is born anew into our lives over and over again," Scott-Huffman said. "This is my calling, to help people recognize God's presence with them.

"If I see even a little relief in others, I know I have done what God has called me to do."