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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Blue Christmas

Special service offers holiday hope for the hurting

Christmas is a joyful time, but not for those grieving lost loved ones and failed relationships or fighting loneliness and depression. St. Paul Lutheran Church, Shively, Ky., offers holiday hope for the hurting with a Blue Christmas service.

“People have lost jobs, or they may have just moved into the community and don’t know anyone yet,” said Shirley Ross-Jones, pastor of St. Paul. “For a lot of people who’ve battled depression all year long, it certainly becomes a lot more exacerbated at the holiday time.”

While society expects us to be joyfully absorbed with Christmas shopping and party planning, people burdened by sadness feel increasingly isolated at this time of year, she said. “At Christmas, the losses can become a lot more difficult to deal with,” she added.

Ross-Jones’ empathy stems from experience. In 1991 her husband of 24 years, Bob, was killed in a snowmobile accident. That first difficult Christmas without him, she and her children, Amy and Matthew, then 19 and 16, decided to forgo festivities and spend a quiet holiday at home together. Decision made, she felt immediate relief: “It was like, we don’t have to go out and put smiles on our faces and pretend we’re happy now that it’s Christmas.”


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