Wednesday, December 21, 2005

alternative blue christmas service

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

Christmas is not good news for everyone. People die. People grieve. People consider children absent or unborn. Tonite at Opawa Baptist I’m running an alternative blue christmas service, as part of Side Door. It’s a time to play the Christmas blues in the presence of Jesus.

I’ve mixed this icon, and a story from the Moot community, with the U2 album Passengers (Your Blue Room and A different kind of Blue), borrowed from this Anglican Advent candle lighting cermony (scroll down until the heading “Blue Christmas liturgy for individuals”) and woven in a number of tactile responses (holding blue stones and blue boxes).

(I ran a blue christmas service last year, basing it around a nativity art piece in which a shepherd and an angel have the appearance of Down’s Syndrome.) Here’s the order of service for this year (if you’re coming tonight, you might not want to look).

“Some of us walk into Advent
tethered to our unresolved yesterdays
the pain still stabbing; the hurt still throbbing.
It’s not that we don’t know better;
it’s just that we can’t stand up anymore by ourselves.
On the way to Bethlehem, will you give us a hand?”
— Ann Weems


Scriptures of comfort:

Careys Story:

Candles of memory:

A different kind of blue: the Magnificant

Praying with Advent candles:

All: May Eternal Love surround them.

All: Refresh, restore, renew us O God, and lead us into your future.

All: May we remember that dawn defeats darkness.

All: Amen. So be it. Amen.

A different kind of blue: the Magnificant

Three options to help you play, and pray, the blues:

a) hold a blue stone
and consider what is formed through fire.

b) take a blue box
and ask God for what do you need.

c) be “blessed” in the Elizabeth sofas.


Music played tonight includes Veni, veni, Emmanuel, from From Sound of the Spirit, Your blue room, A different kind of blue, Miss Sarejevo from Passengers.

Posted by steve at 02:30 PM


  1. thank you thank you thank you!!!!!
    Though I am not CURRENTLY walking any wilderness, I have several close friends who are. This year, i am struggling to “rejoice, rejoice” while they have so many sorrows and questions. They are Christians, but the unknown is so overwhelming that they can not feel His presence, and the holiday only seems to rub it in. I’m going to incorporate a service like this somewhere, soon. I am tired of sappy Christianity that treats discoragement like a lack of faith. Lack of hope, perhaps, from being ignored by the Christian community? Afraid someone might actually cry, or scream, or be unconsolable for a season? Thanks again for being brave enough to buck the platitudes.

    Comment by teri vogeli — December 27, 2005 @ 2:24 am

  2. I’ve had my first Christmas estranged from a lot of my family. It has been an extremely difficult few months culminating in a forced sale of our family home, and the knowledge that people I loved do not care about the truth, and are prepared to see injustice done causing innocent children so much pain.
    I have had to accept I must move on with my life and that not to expect to be valued by family but that has been hard and for 5 months I was so numb I could not cry.
    The other night I ended up going off to hospital all alone in the back of an ambulance after a stupid accident, upset as a friend had been diagnosed with Cancer and for the first time I questioned why I was here and what value my life really has. I contemplated what would those who had rejected me think if I died, and I realised very little was the answer.
    This morning in church I finally cried when I was reminded that whatever persecution has occurred God loves me and I can remain strong, and now the pain feels less like a spear through my heart and more like a dull throb.
    There will always be those that value their pride, their own needs to save face, and wealth ahead of the personal peace of mind and soul that comes when you know you are a child of God loved and valued.
    Now renewed for what will be a hard year, I will stand tall knowing justice may not happen on earth, but it does in Heaven and I would never wish to lie or perjure myself to risk my relationship with God who loves me unconditionally.

    Comment by Paula Weir — February 5, 2006 @ 7:24 pm

  3. Paula, this sounds very painful. i am glad you have found fresh strength to carry

    At the end of the blue Christmas service by way of benediction I suggested
    people go home to look after themselves; to take a hot bath or go for a walk
    or sip a hot chocolate. In the midst of pain, its easy to stop nurturing

    My thoughts and prayers are with you tonight.

    Comment by steve — February 5, 2006 @ 10:12 pm

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