Christmas is a season with little cheer for some people, who’ve had a loss or setback this year. Tonight (Thursday) Reverend Deborah Stowers will co-host a “Blue Christmas” service at a northwest Iowa church.

It’s for anyone having a hard time “doing the Ho-Ho-holiday of Christmas,” she says, and who needs instead to observe the holy day of Christ’s birth. She says in their hard times they can note “a time where Christ did not come into the world to sanctify a feast or to set apart a time for festivities and gay singing, but came to a world that was in need, a world that was in darkness and needed to have light.”

Stowers, who is the minister for the Community United Methodist Church in Sergeant Bluff, near Sioux City, says anyone can have a “blue Christmas” for a number of reasons. When you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, you’ve had a diagnosis that has brought you up short, or you’re dealing with loss of a job or a farm or moving away from family and friends, sometimes you just can’t deal with the holiday festivities and the joyous celebrations.

The timing of tonight’s service is planned carefully, she says, with the needs of other holiday obligations in mind but also symbolism that can help those in grief.
The services generally are held close to the winter solstice, which has the year’s longest night and the shortest day. Stowers says the point is to help people see that from here on out, the days get longer and brighter. “So, in our situations, God’s coming.”

The service is at 7 tonight at the Community United Methodist Church in Sergeant Bluff, co-sponsored by the Spirit of Life Lutheran Church, and people of all denominations and faiths are welcome.