Feeling blue? Six faith events to help you cope with grief and loss during the holidays

Many houses of worship host "Blue Christmas" events and other similar services to help people cope with grief and loss during the holidays.
Many houses of worship host "Blue Christmas" events and other similar services to help people cope with grief and loss during the holidays.

Lost so much still taking stock.

What six words would help convey one's grief during a time when many people are making merry?

This question was asked of members of Temple B'nai Israel during a recent virtual seminar called "Making Space for a Year of Grief." Rebecca Soffer, chief executive officer of ModernLoss.com, joined Rabbi Vered Harris for the interactive conversation held as part of a series of activities during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

The Oklahoma City temple is among the houses of worship that chose to offer services and sessions designed to help individuals coping with grief and loss, particularly during the holidays.

Other faith organizations planning such events include Crossings Community Church, which will offer its "Service of Remembrance" on Sunday; and Mayflower Congregational Church UCC, which will host a "Blue Christmas Evensong" service on Sunday. First Baptist Church of Moore will offer several sessions of "Surviving the Holidays," a holiday-themed extension of the GriefShare program, on Wednesday in Moore.

At Mayflower, music will play a key role.

The Rev. Lori Walke, the church's senior pastor said the "Blue Christmas Evensong" event set for Sunday is a quiet service of liturgy and song that "allows room for the sorrow that so many feel this time of year."

"While the holidays are certainly merry and bright in countless ways, they are also a time when people lament lost loved ones, changed circumstances and can feel overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the season," she said.

"Blue Christmas Evensong is a chance for people to quiet their hearts and minds and acknowledge the complexity of this time of year, but also be reminded that they are held by God and their community of faith."

Meanwhile, the Rev. Larry Quinton said he and his wife Sarah will serve as facilitators for the two "Surviving the Holidays" seminars that will be held at his church, First Baptist-Moore on Wednesday. Quinton said he and his wife serve as facilitators for the church's GriefShare program offered year round for people experiencing grief and loss.

He said the holiday-themed sessions are needed because the holidays often bring up issues that don't come up at other times of the year. For instance, the retired preacher said some practical issues that can come up can be things like putting up exterior decorations when it had been the responsibility of a deceased spouse. He said learning to cope with the emotional aspect of experiencing the holidays after the death of a spouse or the loss of significant relationships is key for many people.

"The holidays are the most depressing time of year for a lot of people," Quinton said.

He and his wife said the holiday sessions are designed to help people "move forward rather moving on," because they will always cherish the memories of their loved ones.

Faith-based services

The following faith-based services and events are designed to help individuals and families who may be coping with loss and grief during the holidays. Inquire in advance about COVID-19-related precautions and requirements. Activities are free unless otherwise noted:

Crossings Community Church, 14600 N Portland, Service of Remembrance, 3 p.m. Sunday. Information: https://christmas.crossings.church/events/70.

Mayflower Congregational Church UCC, 3901 NW 63, Blue Christmas Evensong, 5 p.m. Sunday, childcare will be provided. Information: This is a quiet service of music, candlelight, meditation and words of hope, childcare provided, 405-842-8897.

First Baptist Church of Moore, 301 NE 27, Moore, GriefShare Surviving the Holidays, identical seminars, 2 to 3:30 p.m. and 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, childcare available for evening session, but RSVP is required, 405-793-2600.

Choctaw Road Baptist Church, 14971 E Reno, Choctaw, GriefShare Surviving the Holidays, 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, 405-390-9002.

NorthHaven Church, 4600 36th Ave NW, Norman, Service of Grief and Hope, 6 p.m. Dec. 15, 405-321-8170; https://northhavenchurch.net.

Community Church of the Nazarene, 10200 SE 15, Midwest City, GriefShare Surviving the Holidays, 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 15, childcare provided, 405-737–6544.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Feeling blue? Six faith events for coping with grief during the holidays