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Blue Christmas Vancouver service deals with holiday blues

12/17/2014 01:54 EST | Updated 02/16/2015 05:59 EST
A special Christmas service will be held in Vancouver Wednesday night for people who are having a difficult time getting through the holiday season.

"It's really geared towards all of us who recognize this time of year may not be all that we hope it would be or all that the world tells us it should be," Rev. Beth Hayward with the Canadian Memorial United Church told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

"The pressure to buy, the pressure to live up to some standard that the world tells us is the norm, that pressure is real for people."

Hayward said the messages of "merry and bright" can be especially difficult for people dealing with grief, loss and loneliness.

The service will be held in a Christian church and is rooted in the Christmas tradition, and Hayward said it's open to everyone.

"It's a ritual. Lots of candles, readings from various backgrounds, lots of silence and music. That touches a broad base of people."

Hayward said around 100 people come to the service each year at the church on Vancouver's Burrard Street, for a wide range of reasons. Some are grieving the loss of a loved one, while others simply find the weight of the world heavy this time of year.

"Whenever we meet other people, we're going through stuff, and that's okay," she said.

"Alongside all of the celebration there's also deep shadows in our lives."

Hayward said the service is inspired by her own experience. When she first moved away from home in her 20s, she had the "worst Christmas ever," and felt she was the only one who wasn't having a good time.

"Even in the midst of that, there is place for celebration, and bringing us together can really open us to knowing that a whole range of emotions is normal and okay."

The Blue Christmas service will be held at the Canadian Memorial United Church in Vancouver tonight at 7 p.m.

To hear more about why the Blue Christmas service is being held, click the audio labelled: Blue Christmas service.

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