BLUE CHRISTMAS

SURROUNDED BY poinsettias and greenery, Joseph and Mary await the arrival of Jesus. The Rev. Cathy Myers at the Richmond United Methodist Church and Shirkey Chaplain Bill Purcell will host “Blue Christmas” services on Thursday, Dec. 19.

RICHMOND – “Since my mother’s death in 1982, I’ve altered my Christmas traditions,” Liz Johnson said.

The administrative assistant at Richmond United Methodist Church, Johnson remembers her mother making Christmas special, “as only my mother could.”

“She would save her dimes all year long to buy the Christmas tree and that was her contribution every year until she died,” Johnson said. “My dad was a pastor. We would have tuna casserole on Christmas Eve. No one made it like she did.”

Her new family traditions include playing Christmas music as soon as it comes on and, with her grandson, decorating the Christmas tree on Black Friday.

“The holidays can be sad for many,” the Rev. Bill Purcell at Shirkey Hospice said. “I’ve lost two children and this time of year can bring on melancholy feelings.”

The winter solstice occurs about 10 p.m. Dec. 21, and is referred to as the longest night, or in church liturgy, “Darkest Night.”

Purcell said “Blue Christmas” services are typically held on the night of the winter solstice.

This year, a Blue Christmas candle service will be held at 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 18, in the Shirkey Nursing Home chapel, Purcell said.

The Rev. Cathy Myers said Richmond United Methodist Church will hold a 6 p.m., Dec. 19, service.

READ MORE ABOUT THE DARKEST NIGHT AND HOW TO GET HELP FOR DEPRESSION IN FRIDAY'S RICHMOND DAILY-NEWS

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