'Blue Christmas' helps those dealing with loss

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

When people are grieving, the Christmas season can seem like an extended period of pretending to be happy when their hearts actually are heavy with pain.

Dr. Jeff Long, former pastor of Centenary Methodist Church, wants people who might have recently lost loved ones to know they are not alone. They will be welcome at a "Blue Christmas" service at 6 p.m. Thursday in the main lobby at the Chateau Girardeau Retirement Community.

"The service is for those who've experienced an incredible loss," said Long, now the assistant director of marketing at Chateau Girardeau. "The first Christmas after a loss can be a tremendously saddening experience, and it can be a struggle to live in the ever-present merriment that we are bombarded with in American culture."

Long said it's fine for people who are dealing with loss to feel as if they aren't "getting it" during Christmastime.

"A question I've been asked more than once is, 'Is it OK that I feel this way?' The answer is yes. It's OK that rejoicing is hard work for you. And people who feel that way are the ones we want attending the service."

Long explained that the idea for "Blue Christmas" came, fittingly enough, from the Christmas song of the same name popularized by Elvis Presley.

"The song goes, 'You'll be doing all right with your Christmas of white, but I'll have a blue Christmas.' I think that's how a lot of people with troubled hearts feel when they see others enjoying the Christmas season to the fullest."

The service will begin with a reading from the book of Job. Songs will be performed by musicians and vocalists, and the service will finish with a note of hope from the book of Revelation. There also will be lighting of candles to symbolize the sense of loss felt by participants.

"I hope it will be a healing for some," Long said, "but just getting the point across that it's OK for people to feel the way the do will be enough."



Pertinent address:

3120 Independence St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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