Blue Christmas offering healing and hope
Knowing Christmas can be a melancholy time for those who are isolated or have recently lost a loved one, the Rev. Kay Lanasa has been planning a Blue Christmas Service of Healing & Hope at Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church for years.
This year, the 13th annual service will be at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 23, at the church, at 81 Central Avenue in Ocean View.
“The service is for those lost, lonely, grieving and overwhelmed. This year the theme is memories. We all have different memories. We will have somebody sharing, and memories will be reflected,” she said.
“There’s no singing. There is no communion or formal prayer. It’s just a very peaceful service. The service is always on the 23rd because on Christmas Eve there are people who aren’t happy. It isn’t all hip-hop and ‘Halleluiah, it’s Christmas’ for a lot of people.
The service doesn’t follow a plan, and no bulletins are printed and distributed. Lanasa said she chooses a scripture “and builds it from there.”
“People are very moved. They are blessed because they have some place to go.
“We have a memory table set up every year. They can bring a picture of their loved one and put the pictures down front. There is prayer. There are people there to pray for anyone who wants prayer. We usually get about 70 people,” said Lanasa, a retired pastor from churches in the mountains of Virginia who moved to this area 15 years ago.
“Some bring other people with them who are also grieving. Those who come are ministered to. One of the people in the church’s praise band has written a song for this year called ‘The Heart Comes Home for Christmas.’
“I am very interested in people growing spiritually, so there will be a prayer team there. The service is a time of quiet reflection for people who aren’t happy at Christmas. We have had people who lost children that year,” she said.
“It’s hard. It’s harder for me this year because I lost my husband in March. We were married 63 years, so I am among the lost and lonely.”
By Susan Canfora