This year, we will be having a Longest Night service at 7pm on Wednesday the 21st, which is the winter solstice–the longest night of the year. This service is meant to recognize that although the holidays are often marked by joy and glittering lights, the holidays can also be a painful time. For some, it is the first Christmas without someone they love. For others, this season may be a season full of struggle to provide. Many are struggling with mental health concerns. There are a multitude of complexities and nuance to the holidays (and to our lives).
At this service, we will sing hymns, read scripture, light candles, and pray together. There will be no expectation of “keeping it together.” There will be no expectation that we should sing about joy without acknowledging that it may not be a joyful time for us. There is hurt and doubt and brokenness in the world – that’s why we needed God to be born into our world.
Together, we will remember that the light will always overcome the darkness, no matter how long the night may seem. There is a miracle in the Christmas season, but sometimes we need to be able to wait for that miracle in stillness, without pressure or pageantry. The light is coming. For this is the night when you can trust that any direction you go, you will be walking toward the dawn.