Thursday, 14 December 2017

Blue Christmas



There's a tradition in the Canadian Unitarian Universalist church (and perhaps in other churches as well, I don't know) of having a December event called Blue Christmas. It's a special service of meditation, quiet reflections and readings which acknowledge and honour the fact that Christmas is not always a happy time for everyone.

For those who are ill, alone, grieving, depressed or in difficult circumstances, Christmas can be an excruciatingly painful time with its single-minded emphasis on fun, family, jollity and high spirits. Christmas can be salt in the wounds of many.

It's important not to force expectations of Christmas joy and merriment on those who don't feel it for whatever reason. It's okay not to be happy at Christmas and it's okay to need emotional support to get through it. Hugs, understanding and no pressure are the best gifts for us to give.

42 comments:

anne marie in philly said...

certain churches do that service here too.

"It's important not to force expectations of Christmas joy and merriment on those who don't feel it for whatever reason. It's okay not to be happy at Christmas and it's okay to need emotional support to get through it. Hugs, understanding and no pressure are the best gifts for us to give." - THIS! I really don't like this time of year, and yet others expect me to be jolly. fuck them!

laurie said...

beautifully written, Christmas has become such a mass exploitation of consumerism, whether we feel happy and want to join in on the celebration or not we are forced to join in it by society. We needed your reminder to have some respect for people who just are not happy at Christmas and that is just the hard cold truth of life,, its not all like the television, happy happy, eggnog, laughing joyous people, in real life we hurt we grieve, we are sad, we miss friends and family, and should be allowed to do so.

Elsie Amata said...

I cannot tell you how thankful I am that you shared this, Debra. It is SO true. My first hubby died on Christmas day so that made Christmas quite painful for our family for many years My hubby now struggled each year around this time too although both of us have made tremendous strides on how we look at this time of year, but as you know, it can still be a struggle for Devin from time to time. I'm so glad that there are churches out there who understand this. That's awesome!

Elsie

Leeanna Henderson said...

Wonderfully put.

Snap said...

Amen!

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

I think more churches/temples/places of worship should do this. Its very true on many, many levels.

Jeanne said...

This a beautiful post. So well written. And the comments have been amazing. I read an article a few days ago that there is a Unitarian Church in Denver that is doing the same sort of event. Bravo to them! And my best wishes to all out there that struggle. I wish for peace of mind and heart and soul for them. ♥

Joanne Noragon said...

Stopping to remember those alone is a kind gesture. The year I spent visiting my friend in the nursing home was so draining. I spent an extra hour as I came or went exchanging a word or a touch with the line of women against the walls.

Linda deV said...

Our church has one and it was great comfort for me in the year of my divorce to go and try to let go of the dreams I had of a forever “intact” family. Christmas was very hard, pulling out ornaments that we had purchased every year from our first Xmas in 1980 until our last in 2014. Blue Christmas was a balm and although I cried, as did a good many other people attending, I felt so much better afterwards.

Adam said...

First I've heard of it, I'm in the American UU

mistress maddie said...

I have several single friends and neighbors that are alone, and i always make sure to give them some cookies and invite in for company and a few glasses of wine.

Susan said...

That you for that. I totally agree. It has not been a joyous occasion for me for years. I prefer to think of it as a time to reach out. As a matter of fact, every day is a good time to reach out.

e said...

Such an earworm! I didn't play that song, but even reading the title (or thinking the words) can get it stuck in my head.

Thank you for such a thoughtful post. As a non-Christian I am always glad to discover other traditions around the Winter holiday time. Reflection and solace are always welcome. The UU's are good people.

Kirk said...

Sounds like a great idea.


DEZMOND said...

I know what you're talking about! It is the same on St Valentines for all the singles :) I usually work through holidays so I don't have time to go blue, but if I did not have work.....

Mitchell is Moving said...

Excellent!

Theresa Young said...

Amen to that. We had an incident in our office this week. A client had a horrible panic attack and there was no reasoning with her. All you could do was listen and reassure her. That incident really brought to light for me that the Holidays aren't always happy ones for a lot of people. It's made me very aware and I'm thankful for that.

Marie Smith said...

I so agree! Bravo for pointing it out!

Rain said...

I agree with that one Debra. I've had horrible Christmases and have been guilted into festivities by old friends. It was miserable plus I had to put up a front. I could have just said no, but then again, I am a people pleaser at heart, a detriment that I've been working on!

I love Elvis' rendition of Blue Christmas, I listen to it almost every day in December.

Kay G. said...

I also think it is a very thoughtful thing. We need to look out for those who are hurting.

Birdie said...

If you were beside me right now I would take your hand with tears in my eyes and say thank you for this post. It’s such an awful time.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

So very true. This is a difficult time for many people.

Laura said...

Beautifully stated.
You are so wise.
Thank you for always speaking your truth:)

Magic Love Crow said...

Well said Debra!!! I agree with everything you said! So true! Big Hugs!

Frank said...

Thanks. I'm a real scrooge. And there really is something to the seasonal affective disorder syndrome which coincides with the holidays. Then of course the commercialism and the hypocrisy of some so-called Christians, especially toward LGBTs - the fact that we are not welcome in most religions. As I have distanced myself from my (Catholic) religion, celebrating Christmas feels inauthentic. Love December 26th.

Barbara said...

Interesting. Haven't heard of Blue Christmas. I know Christmas is hard for many people. I think it would be nice to send out some soothing vibes to those Christmas hits hard.

Anonymous said...

It is a good idea to remember those who need support at this time of the year instead of just indulging in one's own celebrations only. I have been at the other end before and an act of kindness goes a long way in this season where loneliness seems amplified. Thanks for the reminder.

Sarah said...

Oh wow, I love the concept I totally agree thaf Christmas can be aweful time of year. I tend to find this time of year is really painful. I like the idea quiet contemplation and reflection. That howvI see christmas time as. Merry Christmas and all the best for new year

Jenn said...

A thoughtful post and event. I have not heard of a Blue Christmas event before but I think it is a great reminder for all. Take care!

Missy George said...

What a lovely tradition..We should have more of those..Things are not always jolly and bright!!!

Magaly Guerrero said...

This might be one of the most (if not the most) reasonable, wise, and humane commentary on the holidays I've read in a while. One every one of us should summon before we ask people what they are doing for the holidays or if they are done with their holiday shopping.

Thanks for sharing, dear Debra.

brewella deville said...

Focusing on how people are doing, rather than what they're getting for Christmas, seems a whole lot healthier. That said, I'm a terrible person and still get a big kick out of rolling my eyes at the few family brag-fest letters we still get at Christmas.

bj said...

As you know, sweet friend, my Christmas is so bittersweet this year. I can't seem to stop thinking of Mr. Sweet....crying off and on all day...MAKING myself even decorate for the season. On the other side of my shattered heart stands all the blessings I have every single day. I am so thankful and grateful for our large and loving family and the love I feel for all of them keeps me going. They will all be here for Christmas Eve so I want my house to be festive and loving and warm for them. Part of me is so happy this Christmas season and part of me just wants to close my bedroom door and cry...NOT for Mr. Sweet....he is where we all want to be someday...my crying is purely selfish...I just miss him so much.
Your post is just perfect.....I wish you lived next door cause I know I'd be over there, bringing my pity party to you because you understand the feelings of the heart. I am so glad you are my blogging friend

jadedj said...

What a beautiful post about a beautiful idea.

Janie Junebug said...

I've had some very difficult holiday seasons in years past. I think I've gotten beyond most of the sadness and can enjoy myself alone.

Love,
Janie

baili said...

My younger brother died near the yearly festival Eid so each Eid after him was like he died today ,mom cried ans so we did.

Pain is part of life not life itself ,such events give chance to let go the miserable way of thinking dear Debra!

it's not pain that give us hard times it is our way of thinking ,my mother kept us in this extreme pain for years and believe me thee are not easy memories to get along ,every day reliving the day that how my brother horribly suffered with pain and how miserably he took his last breath .

In my present family i am the mother and incharge to give my kids positive way of thinking , now days i m living with multiple diseases and one more is about to diagnose "mouth cancer " i can't pronounce my sentences well and slight bleeding has started from the wound in my upper side of mouth still i laugh ,i do my chores ,i be happy not only pretend to be because i love the present moment that my Creator has given me ,i can't waste it in worry of coming threat to my health .
life is beautiful and worth living ,we should not make it worse than deaht by lemanting upon past or worrying about future

Jono said...

There are a lot of people that are forgotten or left behind. I hope to do something for some of them.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

That sounds beautiful. I think people of all faiths need a Blue Christmas.
Hope it's a serene season for you.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Yes, it is important to remember that there are a lot of people who, while they won't be on the breadline or obviously disadvantaged , will still have an unhappy Christmas. It's definitely the time of year to be extra kind and considerate to everyone .

Sandy said...

Very well said. I've not heard of actually having a Blue Christmas service before, but it surely makes sense. I must ask around to see if churches around here do that.

Doing some blog walking this am, and found myself here. Always nice to visit additional blogs.

Sandy's Space

Ol'Buzzard said...

Season's greetings to you and yours. A thoughtful post
thanks
the Ol'Buzzard

JACKIESUE said...

now that's a tradition I can get behind..
merry christmas to you and your rare one with love from Texas.