SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – For many, this holiday season isn’t filled with joy. On Tuesday, Bethel United Methodist held a special church service was held for those dealing with loss this time of year. The pastor, Brad Gray, says the Service of the Longest Night is meant to give people relief while coping with loss.

“People experience suffering and loss throughout their lives, it’s just been heightened because of the pandemic,” said Gray.

Pastor Gray says they chose the Winter Solstice for this service, because it’s the longest night. Scripture was read, music was played, and candles were lit. Gray says there are four points he wants people to take home.

  • Your grief is personal to you
  • Don’t compare your grief
  • Don’t make your grief small, but try to grow around it
  • Grief has no timeline

“God knows our pain and our grief, and because of that, we are not alone,” said Gray.

There are other ways to deal with grief. Licensed Professional Counselor, Dr. Roger Rhoades, says nobody is alone when feeling loss this season.

“It’s over the loss of the past year, or more, and it just comes back and hits people this time of year,” said Dr. Rhoades.

He says the best thing you can do while grieving is to connect with people in similar situations. He recommends finding a support group.

“I totally understand your situation, or I totally understand loss, and both of those areas really help people. It helps dissipate the power of the grief,” said Dr. Rhoades.

He says having that human contact is essential.

“You talk about it, you hug about it, you pray about it, you know, you just have moments of silence about it,” said Dr. Rhoades.

It’s something Rhoades says can’t be a one-time thing. He says having people to lean on and seeking help will make all the difference.

“Stepping out of your comfort zone emotionally will heal, it will heal you,” he said.

Pastor Gray says the church will continue to find ways to reach people dealing with grief. He says the recommend people seek counseling and look for small ways to be thankful, this holiday season and always.

Some other resources for those dealing with grief include: