Blue Christmas Service
 
Ideas for using the Service

This liturgy was originally prepared for a service at Wisdom Centre, Romsey. It is very simple but was moving and powerful and expressed some of the negative feelings people have facing the "festive season" - but offering Christian hope...

Setting

Fairly subdued lighting is helpful - there will be tears and people feel less conspicuous. Have tissues discreetly available.

An Advent wreath will be needed. This can be fairly small but should be prominent. If a small group is expected and you think you can sit in a circle or horseshoe, lay out greenery in a circle and add four purple candles (though plain white will do if necessary!).

Place an empty "cradle" in front of the wreath - or in the middle if you are using greenery. This could be as simple as a shoe-box covered in brown paper - remember, the manger was simple!

Ensure you leave enough space for people to move between the candles towards and from it safely! You could even move the candles during the placing of the cloths.

Responses

You may like to use the "Reader 2" responses as responses for everyone. This works well - but ensure that you have a few strong voices to lead them - some people may find it difficult to speak during the service, though saying the words can itself be healing. Use your judgement!
 

Scripture Readings - a few suggestions

Isaiah 9: 1-6
Luke 2: 1-7
John 1: 1-5

Songs

In the Bleak Midwinter
Silent Night
Each winter as the year grows older
Creator of the stars of night
Watch, O Lord, with all those who wake this night...
 

Symbol/ Ritual

Prepare strips of cloth - about 1/2 cm wide. Cotton or similar is best - ensure that it can be written on - preferably with ballpoint or similar pen that won't smudge.

Invite people to write the names of their loved ones - or the situation causing them pain - on the strips. Some will want several strips - others may prefer to put them all on one.

The cloths can then be placed in the "cradle" - people being invited to name their loved one if they wish. Gently encourage people to feel that they are praying for and supporting each other... This can create a beautiful atmosphere which may provoke more tears but which enables people to feel strengthened by the solidarity of others in similar situations.

Once the cloths are in place, it can be helpful to reflect very briefly on the names and that we are entrusting them to the Child who is the Light of the World and light a fifth candle representing Christ. A taper can be lit from this and people invited to light small candles distributed around the wreath.

Allow people time at the end to sit with the names and lights.

Mulled wine or punch and a few mince pies could be a kind gesture before people leave.

2010 Wellspring