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Rabbi Earl Grollman once said, “Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity; the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.”

For many people, the approaching Christmas holiday does not bring with it the joy and happiness advertised on television or in greeting cards.

Psychologists have long known that the contrived good cheer of the holiday season can actually make some people who are dealing with heartbreak feel worse.

One of the ways to walk through grief is to name it, claim it and find support in its midst.

God never intended us to be solitary people. God created us to be in relations with one another, to support and comfort one another.

Many other things in our world would suggest that we get over it, move on, etc. That is unrealistic and not the way of the faithful. God surrounds us with people who remind us of the true light in the midst of our darkest times.

Some religious traditions recognize these mixed feelings with a Blue Christmas service.

Grieving is an important response for those who have lost loved ones, lost jobs, are alone, or dealing with illness and stress.

A Blue Christmas service confronts feelings of grief and loss head-on. Cultures across the world have festivals of light this time of year. Yet, the reality in our lives is dark sometimes, and it is a hard time for many people. It is a time of faith challenges and faith growth.

A special time like a Blue Christmas service with candle lighting, quiet reflection and an opportunity to name the people and situations we are grieving meets our need to live in our own reality. The words of Scripture and special music help us focus on the comfort God offers.

This year will mark the first Blue Christmas Service at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Fairfield.

We want to offer this time of solace to the entire community. All are welcome. As part of the Lutheran tradition, we will celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion.

This sacrament reminds us, again, that we are not alone. We celebrate with all the saints now at rest, the saints that will come after us and the saints gathered around the table with us.

We gather to share the bread and wine of hope and forgiveness. At St. Mark’s, the communion table is open to all believers who in faith acknowledge forgiveness in the death and resurrection of Christ. We believe that Christ is truly present in this sacrament, and that in receiving the bread and wine we receive his body and his blood.

We invite you to join others who are grieving to St. Mark’s at 4 p.m. Dec. 23. The church is at 1600 Union Ave.

For more information, send an email to pastorkaren@stmarksfairfield.org or call 422-4741.

The Rev. Karen Stetins is senior pastor at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Fairfield.



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