a worship as you go service

Blue Christmas:

for all whose hearts are breaking this Christmas




This service is intended for anyone who is in mourning this Christmas.  This grief can either very fresh or something that has been with you for many years.  

We welcome you wherever you are in the messy process of grieving: numb, raw, yearning, despairing, depressed, gradually trying to envision a hopeful future again,  leaning into a new normal, or feeling better (but not the same).

Things to Gather

extra chair, pen and paper, candle


You may choose to begin with this ancient Christian hymn

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Or a more contemporary one 

May you find a light


Naming Our Losses

It might be helpful to find a quiet place next to an empty chair.  The empty chair can be a potent reminder of a person (or people) who won’t be sitting around our table this year.  It can also mark a more general emptiness that is maybe hard to even put words to….


Take a few moments to ground yourself: sit back in your chair, feel your feet on the ground below (if possible for you),  put your hand on your chest and feel the rising and falling of your chest

Naming our loses to ourselves

Death is not the only loss we mourn.  We also mourn the loss of relationship: divorce, strained friendships, and fractured family relationship.  We mourn loss of memory, strength, mobility, and freedom. Some of the things we mourn most acutely—a close family, a child, a loving life partner, good health—we never had. This doesn’t make their lack any the less palpable. The same can be said about the loss of goals or of a vision for the future that never came to fruition.

Take some time to name areas  of loss: this can be done in silent prayer or by writing them down in a journal (you may even want to write them on scraps of papers and place them on the empty chair).

You may find it helpful to be specific about your losses

If it is a person:

What do I miss most about … ? 

What do I especially miss at Christmas ?

What is your favorite memory about … ? 

What do I wish I could say to … ?

If other kinds of losses:

How would my life be different if this had happened?

I long for … ?

What feelings am I the most uncomfortable with right now: anger, sadness, apathy?

The thing that really gets me down is … ?



Lament is a specific type of prayer where we name our losses before God. In lament we should feel free to be angry with God and with our situation.  In lament we can name our confusion, doubt or lack of faith. 

Naming our Loss

If you are comfortable you might want to pray aloud or silently finishing one of these sentences:

God, I am angry about…

God, [this] makes me hopeless. 

God, why did you allow [this] to happen?

Why do others have [these blessings] and I don’t


Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, so far from the words of my groaning?

O my God, I cry by day but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.

In you, our ancestors trusted. They trusted and you delivered them.

It was you who brought me from the womb,

you who kept me safe on my mother’s breast.

Since my mother bore me, you have been my God. Do not be far from me,

for trouble is near and there is no one to help.

God does not despise the affliction of the afflicted. God does not hide from me. When I cry to God, God hears me. Thanks be to God.


Advent for Weary Souls

You may want to listen to this lament from 2018, or …


Come now, O God, When our love is forsaken

or listen to this song:


Looking for Light

(read aloud if possible)

God of wisdom, we come to you this Christmas Season tired, in turmoil, and in pain. As the nights have grown longer, so has darkness grown and wrapped itself around our hearts. In this season of longest night, we ask your healing blessings upon all that we carry in our hearts — sorrow we fear may never end, wounds we cannot even put into words. Lord, hear our prayer,

God of mercy and compassion, there are those among us who are grieving over what might have been. Death or loss or terrible hurt has changed our experience of Christmas. We remember that once it was a special day for us, too, but someone or something precious has gone away from us in this life. We have lost a beloved, a job, a goal, a cause, a dream. We find ourselves adrift and alone. We are weary from the journey, and we have found no room at the inn. We come to you seeking rest, and peace, and shelter from the storm. Lord, hear our prayer*


Nothing is Lost on the Breath of God


Light a candle

Hold Silence


Affirmation of Quiet Hope

 Another day will come, 0 God. I know not what it may bring forth, but make me ready, God, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, help me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of thy Peace.

Final Hymn

Go Before Us



Text by Jo Hatlem

*starred items adapted from the Blue Christmas at The Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew, Honolulu Hawaii.

Design by Trevor Bechtel