Many congregations have been adding a Blue Christmas service to their December activities to provide a place for lament and worship for those who are dreading the experiences of Christmas celebrations. The following is designed to provide an awareness and expression of worship on December 21st, the longest night of the year.

The service outline was cobbled together from a variety of resources, including the ELW, a prayer retreat by Pastor Vicki Fink, and a few thoughts I had. Substitute your own familiar songs and hymns and read Scriptures applicable to your setting.

Gathering Music


Silent Meditation

The silence beginswith a chime. When the chime sounds a second time the assembly stands and faces the processional cross.

Procession           Wait for the Lord ELW 262 (repeat until cross is in place next to the lectern)


P: Find rest, O my soul, in God alone. My hope comes from God.

C: We come this night to the Father. We come this night to the Son. We come

this night to the Holy Spirit. We come this night to God. Shelter us and hold us close. AMEN.

Hymn of Light       Joyous light of Heavenly Glory ELW 561

Thanksgiving for Light (ELW, pp. 310–311)

The assembly is seated.


Psalm 27



God, you have revealed your love by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ

into our world. Help us to welcome him with joy, and to make room for

him in our lives and our homes, that we may abide in Him and He in us,

now and forever. Amen.


First Reading Isaiah 9:2-7

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Hymn: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel ELW 257, vs. 1-4

Second Reading Isaiah 40:1-11

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Hymn: Comfort, Comfort Now My people ELW 256, v. 1

Third Reading Matthew 11:28-30

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Hymn: O come, O come, Emmanuel ELW 257, vs.5-7

Fourth Reading John 1:1-5, 14

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Hymn: Lo, how a rose e’er blooming ELW 272,

Meditation    Christ Be Our Light. (if you want a copy of my meditation, note your email address in the comments)

Gospel Canticle

My soul proclaims your greatness ELW 251

Prayer Stations

A chime may call the assembly to prayer, then the songs are sung meditatively. During this time, worshipers may approach each prayer station as desired. Spend as much or as littletime as you wish at each location. After you have finished you may return to yourseat.  A short description of each is below.

Candles for the Missing: Light a candle and say a prayer remembering those who have died, those who are on duty or overseas, those who are separated from you by space, illness, or division. Candles are located on the altar.

Baggage: On the paper in the suitcase, write down any baggage you wish to leave behind or wish to no longer carry. Place your “baggage” in the suitcase as a symbol of giving that burden to God. Located on the table just right of the altar.

Baptismal Reminder: Dip your hand in the baptismal font water and make the sign of the cross on your forehead, reminding yourself that you are a baptized child of God, marked with the cross of Christ, and forgiven of your sins. Located in the center aisle.

Prayer with laying on of hands may be offered by clergy seated to the far left and the far right of the altar.

Songs during the time of prayer

Come and fill our hearts ELW 528

O Lord, hear my prayer ELW 751

A chime will sound to indicate the transition from personal prayer to assembly prayer.

Lord’s Prayer

Candle Lighting Hymns

During the hymns, individual candles are lighted. Worshipers may pass the light to someone near them.

It came upon the midnight clear ELW 282

Silent night, holy night! ELW 281


Siblings in Christ,

we are lost in the night no more,

but live in the promise of Christ.

May God, who sends light to overcome all darkness,

grant you grace, mercy, and peace.


Individual candles are extinguished.

Sending Music



Worshipers may be invited to stay for refreshments following the service.

This is the order of service used by the Inter-Church Council of Lucas County, Iowa for the community of Chariton IA. All words and music needed for the service may be printed in the bulletin.