"Happy Holidays! Happy, happy holidays!"

These song lyrics and sentiment permeate every aspect of our lives beginning in early November and lasting through New Year's Day. The television and radio remind us daily of the impending joy of the holiday season.

We're supposed to be busy scurrying around gathering gifts, decorating our homes, and making plans to spend time with family and friends during this special time of year, all with a giant smile on our face and a bounce in our step. And while many people seem to carry on in just this fashion, there are others who find the holiday season to have the opposite effect.

Many people are coping with the unexpected loss of a loved one. Others may be battling addiction or ongoing financial struggles. Some might be struggling with health issues or experiencing difficulties in their personal relationships. And if these problems weren't challenging enough, many people are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder, a condition in which the shortened daylight hours of winter contribute to depression.

In an article published in Psychology Today by Ray Williams, the National Institute of Health claims that Christmas is the time of year that people experience a high incidence of depression. In a North American survey, 45 percent of respondents reported they dreaded the holiday season.

If you are struggling to find cheer this holiday season, The Hope Flatrock-Hawcreek Ministerial Association is sponsoring an event intended to help you. On Dec. 21st at 7 p.m., a Blue Christmas service will be held at the Hope United Methodist Church located at 432 Washington St.Pastor Ed Cottrell will be leading the service, and local musician Avery Tallent will be performing during the event.

The idea for a Blue Christmas originated in 2012 when Pastor Cottrell acknowledged that many people were struggling emotionally during the Christmas season. He wants them to know that they aren't alone, and it is possible to find joy, peace, and hope in the season. The positive responses elicited from attendees of previous Blue Christmas programs are part of the motivation to continue to reach out to those in the community during this time of year.