Readings and hymns for Blue Christmas services

A selection of  hymns and songs suitable for Blue Christmas or northern hemisphere Longest-Night services.

Most are free-to-use (ie public domain or copyright-free)  meaning the words can be copied and sung to at least one tune with no concerns about copyright or performance licensing - sometimes in a limited setting.

About Blue Christmas

"Blue Christmas" is an alternative type of church service foe people who have experienced a personal loss or incident which means they are not, at the moment, feeling to the usual joy and happiness of the Christmas season.  These services are typically held in late December (close to the 21st) - but can be held at other times too, including 21 June (the longest night in the southern hemisphere).

Often people these services cater for have experienced a loss like death of a loved one, marriage breakup, serious illness/disability, job-loss, or a traumatic event like a serious assault or injury.

Aims of such a service often include reminding people that they are not alone, honouring their their feelings, and if possible providing some experience of a healing ritual, eg lighting a candle or praying with someone.

There is no defined set of scripture readings for such a service, but some suggestions are below.

Similarly hymns generally need to focus on healing and be contemplative.  Some free-use  and currently-subject-to-copyright suggestions are below, including some of the more restrained traditional Christmas carols.

Suggested Readings

These are some possible scripture readings - there are many others;

Old Testament

  • Isaiah 40:1, 25-31 - O comfort my people
  • Lamentations 3:1-3, 19-26


  • Psalm 13 - How long O Lord must I wait ...
  • Psalm 121 - I lift up my eyes into the hills.

New Testament

  • Matthew 5:3-12
  • Matthew 11:28-30 - Come to me all who labour

Free-use hymns and songs

Abide with Me

Balm in Gilead

Good King Wenceslas

Help me Jesus Christ

If Thou but Suffer God to Guide Thee

In the Bleak Mid-Winter

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear


Love Came Down at Christmas

O Come O Come Emmanuel

Comfort, Comfort my People

Nearer my God to Thee

Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen

Precious Lord

See Amid the Winter's Snow

Sweet Hour of Prayer

The Lord’s My Shepherd

'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime / Huron Carol (Canadian)

Wexford Carol

What Child is This

What Wondrous Love

Hymns that may still be copyright

Come to me all who Labour - Norbet

God of Day and God of Darkness - Haugen

I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry

I Will Lift up my Eyes - Alonso

O Comfort my People - Waddell

Suffer Little Children - Green

Other resources for church-music selection

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