What is Blue Christmas?
The time of Christmas is jolly when family and friends gather together and enjoy food and drinks and, most importantly, company. But there are also times when some of the chairs are empty at the dinner table, and people feel empty and sad about their loved one's passing.
Blue Christmas acknowledges that emptiness and aims to help those struggling to find hope and joy.
Blue Christmas usually falls on the year’s longest night, which is the winter solstice. It is a day in the Advent season of the Western Christian tradition. Western Churches hold services to help the ones grieving a loved one’s death.
Blue Christmas All Quick Overview
- Time / Date: December 21
- Category: Mental Health and Religious
- Where It’s Marked: The US.
- Why It’s Marked: The day marks the grief of the Christians struggling with mental health and finding hope.
History Of Blue Christmas
Blue Christmas honors the grief of Christians going through a hard time. Some Western Christian churches hold services that honor those dealing with losing a family member, healing from mental issues, and recovering from diseases. The gathering is not similar to traditional services but rather more quiet and intimate.
The Blue Christmas tradition has been going on in the United States since 1990. There is also a linkage of the day with Saint Thomas the Apostle. People believe that he had struggled to believe in the resurrection of Jesus on the longest nights before Christmas and expressed grief of loss. So, the church service traditionally holds the Holy Eucharist, which takes place on the Winter Solstice, the longest day.
However, the Blue Christmas welcomed a new purpose to honor the Law Enforcement Officers who sacrificed their lives to protect the people during the festive season. In May 2016, a local Simpsonville, SC resident, Kevin Dunn, started the movement to highlight and respect the officers. He did the movement commemorated the death of a police officer who died earlier that year.
Kevin's sole aim was to commemorate the brave and tireless work of the Law Enforcement Officers who died in the line of duty. His "A Blue Christmas" Facebook group also gathered hundreds of supporters. Moreover, at the time of the movement, he decorated his home with traditional Christmas lights but replaced some of them with blue-colored bulbs.
How to Celebrate Blue Christmas
According to Western Christian traditions, some churches hold worship services for people experiencing pain and sorrow. They welcome all the Christians who have lost someone or are struggling to find hope and happiness.
The service allows everyone to share their pain and sorrow and acquire hope for a better future. The church lights an Advent Wreath consisting of blue and white candles. They burn these candles one by one throughout the worship service.
People visiting the ceremony keep chairs empty beside them to commemorate the family members or friends they have lost that year. Images of Winter Solstice are significant elements in the worship part of the event as they mark the substantial reduction in darkness as the dawn comes upon people.
Countries that observe Blue Christmas
The United States of America (USA) observes Blue Christmas every year. Although, not all churches offer this service.
Interesting facts about Blue Christmas
Here are some interesting facts about Blue Christmas that you may like to know.
- There is a rock and roll Christmas song called “Blue Christmas” that Elvis Presley sang in 1957.
- The song "Blue Christmas" was initially country-hit music written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson in 1948.
- According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness Study in 2014, holidays worsen 64% of people’s mental conditions as they coop up their sorrow for others.
- According to USA Today, the largest gathering of Blue Christmas was in 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky, where 300 people joined the service.
- Blue Christmas’s other name is “Longest Night Services.”
- The Advent Wreath must have five candles, of which there should be one white candle lit in the middle and five blue candles lit surrounding it.
Unique Blue Christmas celebration ideas
If you have lost someone dear to you or are trying to help someone else through grief, here are some ways to heal yourself or help others.
1. Buildup Community Relationships
Many people in a community walk past you daily with a smile, but many hide their pain and grief inside themselves. Hiding feelings leads to mental health issues, anxiety, and depression. Step up for their mental health and try to reassure them that everything will heal at its own pace. On the day of Blue Christmas, arrange a small ceremony for the people hurting inside so they feel comfortable.
2. Show Appreciation to the Law Enforcement
The festive season is the time to spread joy and spend time with family. Many Law Enforcement Officers don't have the opportunity to do so. They are busy with their duty of protecting us during the holiday season. So, Blue Christmas shows respect to the servicemen and women on duty who miss out on spending time with their families.
3. Visit Your Loved One's Grave
If you are suffering from pain, there's a way to reduce it. Visit your loved one's grave to spend some time with them. It will give you some peace and happiness in the cold winter holiday. You can also try healing others who are in the same place.
Blue Christmas Quotes
Here are Blue Christmas quotes for you to send your family and friends to make their day.
“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” — Bob Hope
“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” — Calvin Coolidge
"It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving." — Mother Theresa
1. What do the empty chairs represent in the Blue Christmas service?
The empty chairs in the church service represent the people who died that year.
2. How can Blue Christmas help someone?
Blue Christmas can help people grieve their loved ones even when surrounded by the merriment of Christmas. It gives them a safe place to express their emotions.
3. Who was Elvis Presley?
Elvis Presley was a famous 90s singer and actor who sang the song “Blue Christmas.”
Blue Christmas Observances
|2021||Tuesday||21 December||Blue Christmas|
|2022||Wednesday||21 December||Blue Christmas|
|2023||Thursday||21 December||Blue Christmas|
|2024||Saturday||21 December||Blue Christmas|
|2025||Sunday||21 December||Blue Christmas|
|2026||Monday||21 December||Blue Christmas|
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