SALEM - This year's Blue Christmas Service for people grieving, dealing with sadness or looking for quiet reflection will end on a joyful note of hope.
Beginning at 7 p.m. Sunday at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, the service which closed the last two years with the quiet classic "Silent Night" will now conclude with a prayer of hope and the singing of "Joy to the World."
"The joy of Christmas is deeper than just receiving gifts or being together - it's an internal joy that in spite of our circumstances, we have the message of the faith and the message of hope and eternal joy that carries us on," Holy Trinity Pastor Connie Sassanella said.
This is the third year the church has hosted the service which includes a blue-themed Christmas tree adorning the sanctuary.
Some people are hurting around the holidays, she explained. They may have lost a loved one, lost contact with friends or family or lost a job. The service features periods of reflection, singing of hymns, reciting of scripture and lots of prayer, all aimed at those people who may be having a difficult time.
Throughout the service, people can light candles in remembrance of those who are no longer with them or to represent the losses they've experienced.
Sassanella said she could use some of that quiet time herself after the loss of a woman who was like an adopted grandmother to her children.
Anyone is welcome to attend the service, which will include participation by Pastor Bill Wilkins, retired pastor of Emmanual Lutheran Church in Salem and camp manager for Camp Frederick near Rogers.
Readings will be relevant to the theme and music will be provided by organist Doug Falk and Butch Hallewell and members of the Praise Band. Refreshments will be served.