NORTH KINGSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Although the holidays are supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year,” sometimes, it’s just not realistic.
For those who may be feeling under the weather this holiday season, The Harbor Church in West Kingston is hosting its second annual Blue Christmas Service on Dec. 20.
The goal of the service is to support those who aren’t feeling their best this holiday season. Last year, the church said roughly 40 people attended the service.
The service is a quiet gathering for people who are not feeling up for the cheerful holiday festivities involved in a cheerful Christmas service.
The annual service was started by Carmen Palumbo, who lost her 13-year-old son two years ago.
“My family didn’t know how we were going to face the devastation of the Christmas season without him,” Palumbo said. “We felt overwhelmed and pained by the light-hearted merry surrounding traditional Christmas services. It was like pouring salt in our wounds.”
Palumbo asked her pastor, Keith Mlyniec, to host a quiet service for her family and he was fully on board.
“I think when Carmen contacted me I could just hear the need. There was a brokenness. There was despair and it’s like, why wouldn’t we do this?”, said Pastor Mlyniec.
The family said the service is not just for those who have lost loved ones, but also for those dealing with grief due to losing a job, a divorce or separation, living with a medical condition or struggling with mental health problems.
“These same people are dreading the Christmas season,” Palumbo said. “They may take comfort in a quiet place with people who care about their trials and suffering.”
“We would like to get the word out about our service and others like it in Rhode Island in an attempt to help people who struggle with grief, depression and sadness throughout the holiday season,” she added. “We’d like them to know they are not alone.”
Newman Congregational in Rumford is also hosting a Blue Christmas service on Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.