Derry Bott makes tree tags for Prince Rupert and District Hospice Society Christmas tree in the mall. The public can remember loved ones by writing their names on a tag and hanging on the tree as of Dec. 10. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Derry Bott makes tree tags for Prince Rupert and District Hospice Society Christmas tree in the mall. The public can remember loved ones by writing their names on a tag and hanging on the tree as of Dec. 10. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Blue Christmas Service to be held in person

Contemplative service helps those feeling blue during the holiday season

An in-person Blue Christmas Service will be hosted by the Prince Rupert District Hospice Society in union with the First United Church of Prince Rupert, on Dec. 23.

“The service is for people who have had a loss this year — not even necessarily just this year, and are feeling blue, and not feeling like celebrating Christmas,” Pastor Derry Bott of the First United Church and hospice volunteer, said.

While many people revel in joy and the yuletide spirit during the holiday season, not everyone feels the same, he said. Christmas can very down heartening for many due to the loss of a loved one, loss of job, loss of homes, loss of pets, and many other personal reasons.

“It’s not a joyous occasion for everyone,” he said. “For lots of people, it’s not. Particularly for people who have lost a loved one throughout the year and this is their first Christmas without them. It’s very difficult.”

“It’s a quiet, contemplative service. And it’s for people that are generally not enjoying the Christmas season, not feeling good about Christmas.”

The reflective service of remembrance has been held on an annual basis for at least ten years on the last Thursday of December, and Bott says it predates his time at the church.

The service will include a short seasonal message presented by Bott, some passage readings, Christmas hymns and music, as well as a candle lighting portion.

In the past, Bott said the service has taken different forms and one year he presented vials of blue water to represent the tears shed in time of loss.

Bott reminds people to be kind to themselves and others during the holidays.

“Take care of yourself. Try not to hide in a corner,” he said. “It’s difficult for people especially if they have nobody else around, and no other family. We are social beings. In times like this with COVID, when we are restricted in our relationships, it can be extremely difficult.”

Attendance at the service ranges and has had up to 50 people some years, he said. Originally planned as an online service, due to COVID-19, the lifting of some public health order restrictions allow the service to be held in person at the First United Church, at 636 sixth Ave. at 7 p.m. Services will also be streamed live on zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2126659242 Meeting ID: 212 665 9242 +1-778-907-2071 Canada.

 

Derry Bott is the pastor of First United Church in Prince Rupert where the Blue Christmas Service will be held on Dec. 23 at 7 p.m. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Derry Bott is the pastor of First United Church in Prince Rupert where the Blue Christmas Service will be held on Dec. 23 at 7 p.m. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)