ROGERSVILLE — For all the joy we imagine filling the holidays, this joy can be elusive joy for those who are grieving or struggling. Christmas without a loved one, during times of financial struggle, or times of emotional distress can feel lonely — as if you are the only one without the joy of the holiday spirit.

To honor the range of emotions that so many of us are feeling this holiday season, the Revs. Loren and Jessica Boyce will be hosting “Elusive Joy: A Blue Christmas Worship Service” at Rogersville First United Methodist Church on December 10, at 6 p.m.

This unique worship experience explores the Christmas Story from the perspective of the people who lived it, focusing on the words of struggle in the scriptures. The shepherds are fearful; Mary is away from her family; Joseph worries about societal judgement and supporting his unexpected family; and the Holy Family become refugees in a foreign land. The struggles of humanity are sadly timeless; and we face many of these same struggles today.

“In late November of 2010 I presided over the memorial service for a 9-year-old girl who was killed by her mother in a murder-suicide. As I sat with the father, he talked about dreading the holidays, how he had already purchased some of her gifts, how it would all be different now. He simply did not know how to face the holidays carrying so much grief and despair. I did the service for him, so he would have an opportunity to find himself in the Christmas story, in the chaos and trauma that so many in the story experienced. No matter where you are in our journey of life, there is a place for you in the story of God’s human presence on our earth,” said Rev. Jessica Boyce when asked about her reasons for conducting the service.

Rev. Loren Boyce, pastor at Rogersville FUMC, says, “In every congregation that I have served, I have found a myriad of people who struggle during the Christmas season. Every person has a unique story. Every soul has some form of brokenness that they carry. We all can find our place in the story of the of Emmanuel and those that told his story. This service allows a pathway for us to be present in our own emotions and leads toward a hopeful future.”

This Advent season Rogersville FUMC is celebrating the 300th anniversary of the hymn Joy to the World during its 11 a.m. Sunday worship services. On December 22, at 6 p.m., the choir will present “Joy Has Dawned” as their Christmas cantata. The Blue Christmas worship service is our gift to the community, and no offering will be taken. Please join us at Rogersville FUMC, located at 110 Colonial Road.

For more information please call 423-272-7311.