A Holiday Service for Those Who Don’t Feel Like Rejoicing

STAMFORD — The Church of Christ the Healer in North Stamford offers its annual “Longest Night” service at 5 p.m. on Dec. 19. This simple worship service is especially designed for people who find “the holidays” difficult because of past losses, current troubles, or anxiety about the future. It seeks to give space for feelings that aren’t so jolly. All are invited to attend, whether they miss someone, are suffering illness, depression or economic hardship, or have difficult memories of holiday times. Some people come just to support others in distress.

The church’s pastor, the Rev. Kate Heichler says, “This service is not sad – it just gives some space for a full range of feelings, and celebrates God’s love and presence with us no matter what is going on.” The service will include music, readings, and opportunity to receive prayer, or light a candle, or participate in a ceremony called “wiping the tears.”

Heichler notes that, “Christmas is not ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ for everyone – the empty chair at the table, illness, unemployment, loneliness, or alcoholism – people’s reasons for sadness during the holidays can be many and varied. But Christians claim that God brings light into all darkness, which is the heart of the story we celebrate at this time of the year.” The service is open to people of any faiths, or those who aren’t sure where they are with faith at all. They will find a warm welcome and space to participate as much or as little as they wish.
One woman who attended a previous service wrote in thanks, “At times, especially at this time of year, we who have lost loved ones feel so alone and isolated. Even though I was teary-eyed most of the service, I came away feeling refreshed, knowing God’s love is there for all who seek it. Sometime we just need to be reminded of that. Last evening did it for me.”

Christ the Healer is located at 20 Brookdale Road, corner of High Ridge Road, in Stamford, 1.5 miles north of Exit 35 of the Merritt Parkway. For more information, call the church office at (203) 322-6991 or check the website, www.christthehealerstamford.org.

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