Also known as "The Service of the Longest Night"
This service (the "Blue Christmas" name is taken from an Elvis Presley song) has become increasingly popular over recent years, as it provides an opportunity for the difficulties of life to be acknowledged in contrast to the celebration atmosphere of most Christmas events.
There are many different outlines for this type of reflective service, described variously as “for those who find celebration difficult at Christmas”, a “service of comfort and light, for when pain seems the only gift under the tree”, or “for those experiencing loss, loneliness or despair at Christmas”.
For others, the service is offered specifically around the winter solstice - "the longest night".
The following poem may be used as a framework:
Light looked down and beheld Darkness.
Thither will I go, said Light
Peace looked down and beheld War,
Thither will I go, said Peace
Love looked down and beheld Hatred,
Thither will I go, said Love
So Light came and shone,
So Peace came and gave rest,
So came Love and brought life.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.
(Laurence Housman 1865-1959)
Suggested Scripture readings
Psalm 23 particularly after our pandemic experiences. For all those who have experienced time themselves “in the valley of the shadow of death” or have seen loved ones suffer, or experienced the pain of loss.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
Isaiah 9: 2,4&6
Luke 2: 1-7
John 1: 1-14
Very well-known carols are omitted in the list below, allowing space for a wider range of choice.
Born in the night (StF 193)
Child of joy and peace (StF 194)
God! As with silent hearts we bring to mind (StF 698)
In labour all creation groans (StF 704)
Into the darkness of this world (StF 173)
Light a candle in a darkened place (StF 174)
O little own of Bethlehem (StF 213)
We turn to God when we are sorely pressed (StF 640) words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was killed by the Nazis in April 1945
When a young unmarried couple (StF 220)
Who would think that what was needed (StF 222)
“This is the longest night” by the prolific American hymn writer Mary Louise Bringle (pictured right). It features a beautifully reflective and easy-to-learn tune by Sally Ann Morris. It is available for download from GIA Publications, where you can preview the words and listen to the music, both as a keyboard solo and in a full sung performance.
Additional resource suggestions
StF+ would welcome your suggestions or thoughts around Blue Sunday/Service of the Longest Night worship materials. One further resource that has so far caught our attention can be found at:
The Anglican website Church Support Hub (includes an article about how one congregation planned its "Service of the Longest Night")