|November 20, 2017 • VOL. 55, NO. 20 • Oakland, CA|
'Blue Christmas' offers reflective light
in a season that can be dark
On Dec. 21, the longest night of the year, the Cathedral of Christ the Light will open its doors to the people for whom Christmas is more of "Silent Night" than "Joy to the World."
About 10 years ago, he was introduced to the Blue Christmas movement, and created a one-hour prayer service, with Scripture, song and silence.
"It's very reflective," Renke said. The Scripture is familiar — Ecclesiastes' "To everything there is a season." There's a lot of silence, he said, as well as meditative music.
"We talk about all the losses that accumulate throughout our lives," he said, "the loss of a relationship, or a job or the loss of health." The service acknowledges, he said, "the things that weigh on people."
There's singing by the congregation. "Silent Night" and "Away in the Manger" are in; "Joy to the World" is not.
"There's no one formula," Renke said. "This is something that I've put together and hardly changed over the years because it's so effective."
Blue Christmas will be a one-hour service, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 21 at the Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison St., Oakland. While it is a Christian service, Renke invites people of all faiths to the longest night of the year at the cathedral.
Blue Christmas, he said, "acknowledges loss, grief and pain."
It also acknowledges, he said, "light at the other end."
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