Gathered around the Christmas tree, singing the blues

The Christmas season isn’t merry for everyone. Loss and grief can be accutely felt in the weeks surrounding December 25. A Covenant church in Batavia, Illinois is acknowledging and attending to this dark side of the season by holding a “Blue Christmas” service the Sunday before Christmas Day. Pastor Mick Murphy said, “This service welcomes our darkness, because it provides a place to remember that the light of Christ has been sent to overcome it.”

The service is not an "I hate Christmas" observance, Murphy stresses. "It is a service that reflects the words of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," Murphy says, quoting the lyrics that say, "And ye beneath life's crushing load, whose forms are bending low; who toil along the winding way with painful steps and slow; look now, for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing; O rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing."

This is a great idea and those are fabulous lyrics. (Sometimes it’s hard to beat those old hymns.)