Blue Christmas Service

This is the liturgy used for this years Blue Christmas Service.  There is lots of music suitable for such occasions, I know some people sing and there could be responses, but I choose to leave it a place where people can just come and be, without needing to sing, or stand or join in responses.
Quiet music playing as people gather

 

Introduction

We gather, bringing with us our doubts, our fears,
our grief and our own darkness.
We come to pray for ourselves,
for one another and for this complex world in all its beauty and horror.
We come not because we do not celebrate the light that has come,
but because we are sometimes overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed by a sense that all is not as it should be,
overwhelmed by the hate that seems to rip our world apart,
overwhelmed by grief, both for ourselves and others.

Yet we come seeking the one to whom darkness is as bright as the noon day,
the one from who we are never separated,
and whose love reaches out to us gently and softly,
with compassion and understanding.
We come just as we are because we can come no other way.

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

On this the shortest day of the year when darkness strives to conqueror; we bring our fears and sorrows.
On this the shortest day of the year when darkness wants to overwhelm us; we bring our faltering hopes and shattered dreams.
On this the shortest day of the year when darkness strains our eyes; we bring hearts needing healing, searching for peace.
On this the shortest day of the year when darkness seeps into our pores; we light this candle the Paschal candle, the symbol of Christ the Light of the world born again on Easter morn.

The Paschal candle is lit

Reading Isaiah 40:1, 25-31

Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
To whom then will you compare me,
or who is my equal? says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high and see:
Who created these?
The Lord who brings out their host and numbers them,
calling them all by name;
because God is great in strength,
mighty in power,
not one is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
‘My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God’?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
The Lord does not faint or grow weary;
God’s understanding is unsearchable.
The Lord gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.

Lighting of the candles

First Candle

The first candle we light to remember those whom we have love and will miss this Christmastide.
We pause to remember their name
their voice,
their laugh,
the touch of their hand,
the memory that binds them to us in this season.
We hold them before God, giving thanks for their lives in ours.

A time of silent reflection

Precious memories woven into our lives.
Precious moments that will never be forgotten.
Precious words spoken that can bring us comfort still.
Precious people now safe in God’s care.
We remember them all before you, God of All.

Isaiah tells us of God’s message:
Comfort, comfort now my people
Second Candle

The second candle we light is to redeem the pain of loss;
the loss of relationships
the loss of jobs, or home and the security they brought,
the loss of health in ourselves or in family members,
the loss of joy and peace in our lives from the stresses which surround us.
We gather up our pain, O God, asking you to help us through it.

A time of silent reflection

Thorny times and situations, part of our being.
Painful pasts, that bring hurt into today.
Rejection, betrayal, lonely journeys.
Fearful pasts feeding anxious futures.
We recall them all before you, God of the Cross.

Isaiah reminds us that:
God gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.

Third Candle

The third candle we light to represent our courage.
The courage to confront our doubts,
our sorrow, our grief and our despair,
to comfort each other,
to share our thoughts and feelings
honestly and openly.

A time of silent reflection

Courage to get up when we have fallen.
Courage to speak out for others when we ourselves are hurting.
Courage to be vulnerable and weak.
Courage to accept the help of others.
We ask for your help, God who walks beside us.

Isaiah asks:
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
God does not faint or grow weary;

Fourth Candle

The fourth candle we light as a sign of hope,
we remember that God, who shares our life,
promises us a place and time of no more pain, no more suffering.

A time of silent reflection

Lift up our weary hearts.
Strengthen our aching bodies.
Renew our tired souls.
Guide us when even when your Light seems dim.
Even in the darkness, we trust in your hope, God who Lights the Word.

Isaiah proclaimed:
Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles.

Quiet music is played

Lighting of Individual Candles

In the beginning was the Word.

That Word born into the world
brought light
brought light to our darkness.
That Light
chases all shadows to the edge of existence
where they can harm us no more.
The darkness longs to claim us
but the Word that loves us
wants us for his own.
He will not let the darkness win,
even when we think it might.

The Word became flesh and lived among us,
and we have seen his glorious Light
full of grace and truth.

Those gathered are invited to come forward and light a candle for themselves or someone else as music is played.
When everyone who wishes to has lit a candle these words are said.

These lights in their brightness are only symbols,
just as they burn and finally go out,
we remember that suffering will pass,
but memories will be held forever
in the promise of eternity.

Conulsion

We embrace and claim the darkness
the darkness that is present in the world
the darkness that has seeped into our lives.
We embrace it for it is part of who we are.
Just as Christ is part of who we are.
But let us not give it reign over us.
As people who are familiar with darkness
let us welcome the Light of Christ within us
be it a flicker or blinding glory.

Let us go with the blessing of the Creator to sustain us through the sorrow.
Let us go with the peace of the Christ Child to bring light in our darkness.
Let us go with the hope of the Spirit to lead us to places of comfort.
Let us go knowing God goes with us. Amen.

Advertisements

Please leave a comment if you wish.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s