POCATELLO — Pocatello First United Methodist Church is planning a special service for those who may be more melancholy than merry this holiday season.

Blue Christmas: A Service of Hope and Healing will take place at the church, 200 N. 15th Ave. in Pocatello, at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 21.

Rev. G. Michael Scarlett, pastor of the church, says everyone is welcome to attend — especially those who find themselves struggling at this time of year.

“For our society and culture, the holiday season is to be merry and bright, but that isn’t the case for many folks because of death, divorce or devastating results from medical tests,” Scarlett said. “There are many for whom this season is not a fun and holly jolly time of year.”

He says the service gives people a space where they can recognize their feelings and the season in their own way.

“This special Blue Christmas service can be a service of hope and healing for many,” according to information that the church posted on the event website allevents.in. “We will reflect on select readings from the Bible, and sing some low key Christmas carols. We will give space for prayer, along with having the opportunity to name a person, persons, or situation of suffering, or grief.”

Scarlett says they will light candles during the service, and people will be able to write the name of a loved one or a situation they are going through on a paper star that will be placed on a tree.

Scarlett says the service takes place on Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year.

“It’s a long night of darkness, but now we’re starting to go into the time when there is more light coming into the world,” he said, adding that it symbolizes hope.

Scarlett says Jesus Christ is the Light of the World and He can lighten people’s loads as well as their path. And he hopes those who attend the upcoming service will leave knowing that “God is with them in their situation.”

Scarlett encourages those who are struggling this holiday season to attend the Blue Christmas service.

“This service allows you to bring all of yourself and find hope and healing,” he said.