Presbyterians Today

NOV-DEC 2018

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Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018 19 Worship services address Christmastime depression BY ERIN DUNIGAN T he holidays have been difficult for Christine Caton ever since her mother died — three days after Christmas. As an only child, with her father already gone, Caton experienced profound grief in losing her mom. The Christmas season only accentuated that grief. The year after her mother's death, Crossroads Presbyterian Church in Waterford, Connecticut, where Caton's parents were members, offered a Blue Christmas service. Caton, a Presbyterian pastor herself, now retired, had never heard of such a service. She went anyway. "I went as a person who really needed to be there," she recalled. On the night of the service, Caton entered a sanctuary lit only with a few candles on the Communion table. There in the dimly lit room, beautiful music played, and comforting Scripture passages were read. "I really appreciated the service," Caton said. "It was simple, and the feeling of being in the sanctuary was like being enveloped in the Spirit amid the dark." Blue Christmas services, or Longest Night services as they are sometimes called, offer an alter- native to the joy of the seasonal celebrations for those who find themselves in places of darkness due to loss of a loved one, depression GETTY IMAGES

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