Local churches hosting gatherings for those struggling to feel holiday hope
If You Go ...
What: Longest Night/Blue Christmas gatherings.
When and where: 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, at Trinity Church, 90 Lariat Loop in Edwards, and 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, at Eagle River Presbyterian Church, 455 Nottingham Ranch Road in Avon.
EAGLE COUNTY — Trinity and Eagle River Presbyterian churches are hosting services for people in our community who struggle with the holidays. It’s not all gift-wrapped joy for them.
“This service is not about telling people how to believe. It’s about loving on people,” said Ethan Moore, pastor of Trinity Church in Edwards.
The services are for people who might be looking for a little help finding the joy of the holidays.
The goal is to experience God’s grace by recognizing the reality of loss, pain and grief during the Christmas season, Moore said.
The Prophet Isaiah puts it like this: “In darkness a light will come.”
Any good mental and emotional health professional will tell you that Christmas and the holidays can be difficult for some of us, Moore said.
‘life can be hard’
“The emphasis of the season is joy, joy, joy — all the time,” he said. “Sometimes, people go through hard times and loss. They lose people or jobs or have other kinds of crises.”
Be honest with God and with other people, even if you’re mad at God. God can handle it, and so can those people, Moore said.
“This service acknowledges that, understands that and that scripture teaches that life can be hard,” Moore said. “This service gives them a chance to say it. In doing that is the claim that there is hope in the midst of the Christmas season.”
tradition of companionship
Trinity Church’s Longest Night service is today, and Eagle River Presbyterian Church’s Blue Christmas service is 5 p.m. Sunday.
This is Eagle River Presbyterian Church’s seventh Blue Christmas service, said Pastor Rob Wilson. It’s on or around the Winter Solstice.
“That’s a metaphor for people who are walking through this season,” Wilson said. “They know they’re supposed to be happy and feel happy, but they just can’t.”
Loneliness and loss make it tough, especially if someone has lost a child, since Christmas is such a celebration of children, Wilson said. We also have lots of people who are away from their families, working hard through the Christmas holiday.
Local Vietnam veteran Charlie Benway is Eagle River Presbyterian’s guest speaker. He lost Christmas on a Vietnam battlefield. He now has his counseling degree and works with military veterans.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.