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Church service offers hope from holiday blues

by Gerry Tritz | December 20, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.
Gerry Tritz/News Tribune John Bennett places a star on a night sky representation at the end of First Christian Church's Blue Sunday service Sunday evening. Attendees were asked to write a source of joy on two stars. They kept one and pinned up the other one.

For some, the holidays aren't always happy days. Many people grieve over the loss of loved ones, face social isolation, COVID-19 fears or have unrealistically high expectations of how the holidays should be.

On Sunday, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 327 E. Capitol Ave. in Jefferson City, offered its annual Blue Sunday service. The Rev. Sarah Kingsbery said the service has been offered annually since 2018 "to acknowledge our grief and to find support in a community."

More than a dozen people attended the service in person, and another 10 or so tuned in to the livestream. The hour-long service featured four Bible passages along with reflections by Kingsbery on each one.

Kingsbery said this season isn't always joyful for everyone, but the service is intended as a source of comfort and everyone was welcome.

"In a season of hope and joy, we come together to acknowledge that for many of us, it is also a season of sorry, grief and pain," she said.

"There is courage and vulnerability in acknowledging that life isn't as it should be or how we wish it to be. There is love shown in community for one another in this time," Kingsbery said.

She prayed for God's comfort: "When we are grieving so many things so deeply, joy seems like a far-off memory. And when joy seems so distant, let us look to those in our lives who can remind us, who can help us trust that joy will come again. Let us trust our beloveds to hold the candle of joy for us until we are ready to hold it for ourselves."

She told attendees they weren't alone, and their pain won't last forever.

She said peace can be hard to find in a world where there is violence and anger and when "our lives seem topsy-turvy."

At the end of the service, Kingsbery encouraged attendees to write on two yellow paper stars a "source of warmth, a source of hope, peace and joy or love for you in this season. What is something that helps you to keep going."

As people left, they placed one star on a bulletin board with a night sky representation. They kept the other star as a reminder of their source of hope and joy.

As she was leaving the church, Tasha Ellis said she was slightly depressed when she went to the service, but she left feeling uplifted.

"I loved it," she said. "It's uplifting and really brings your soul up."

  photo  Gerry Tritz/News Tribune The Rev. Sarah Kingsbery, associate pastor at First Christian Church, gives reflections on a Bible verse offered during Blue Sunday, an annual event to help people deal with grief and sadness during the holidays.

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