Blue Christmas, also called the Longest sleep in the Western Christian tradition, is a day in the Advent season marking the longest night of the year. On this day, some churches hold a church service which recognizes that the holidays are sometimes "blue" or filled with difficult feelings around painful life events such as death, disease, poverty, or abuse. Some services may only honor people who have lost loved ones in that year, similar to an All Saint's Day service. The Holy Eucharist is traditionally a part of the service of worship on this day. This worship service is traditionally held on or around the longest night of the year, which falls on or about December 21, the Winter Solstice. There is an interesting convergence for this day as it is also the traditional feast day for Saint Thomas the Apostle. This linkage invites making some connections between Thomas's struggle to believe the tale of Jesus' resurrection, the long nights just before Christmas, and the struggle with darkness and grief faced by those living with loss.
The Worship often includes opportunities for expression of grief and pain as well as an opportunity to focus on the promise of hope. The images of the winter solstice which include the longest night losing to the increasing longer day after midnight is a significant part of the imagery used in the elements of this particular worship event. There are growing resources and popularity around this tradition due to the relevance for many who struggle to find joy and hope during festive seasons.
Many congregations have a special week or so before Christmas. Some call it "Blue Christmas," while others call it, "The Longest Night," and some simply call it a "Service of Remembering."
an Advent evening eucharist (called Longest Night or Blue Christmas) that recognizes how hard the coming of Christmas can be for those who have buried a loved one during the past year.
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