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‘Blue Christmas’ service unites those who mourn

JENNA-LEY HARRISON

Staff Writer

 

While Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, there are many individuals throughout the community who are feeling more so the effects of suffering and sadness. As a result, three Lincoln County churches and one in Catawba County have come together to offer the downtrodden a “Blue Christmas Worship” service Thursday at Sardis Lutheran Church in Hickory. Pastor John Locke of Trinity Lutheran Church in Vale is credited with organizing last year’s first Blue Christmas worship experience. He noted that while many attendants were unsure of what to expect at the event, a majority of them were spiritually transformed and left the service with a more a jubilant outlook on life. “The Spirit works in mysterious ways,” Locke said. “It reverberated with a lot of things they were going through and helped them to celebrate the season—addressed a lot of their emotional needs.” Sardis Lutheran’s pastor Anna Merritt, who’s set to present Thursday’s message, noted that Blue Christmas services have been taking place in churches nationwide for at least the last decade. She said it’s a time to recognize that people may be having a difficult time adjusting to the cheerful season and may be experiencing financial problems, a death in the family or illness. “It’s an opportunity to have a place to acknowledge that’s part of life and to reveal the hope of Jesus Christ’s birth,” she said. “It was a very meaningful time for those who came last year.” Merritt also offered a spiritual parallel on the season’s longer nights and shorter days and gave some insight into why the service is held during this particular time of year. “In a time when it’s dark outside, we can focus on the hope and light of Christ,” she said. In addition to Merritt and Locke, Rev. Dale Pederson of Cedar Grove Lutheran Church in Vale and Rev. Michael Collins from Lincolnton’s Emmanuel Lutheran Church are set to participate in the event. Pastors will also be on-hand after the service to meet with any individual who needs prayer. Worship is free to attend and starts at 7 p.m. at Sardis Lutheran Church, 6103 N.C. Highway 10 West. For more information call (704) 462-2081.

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