Reflection & Blessing for the Longest Night

“A Blue Christmas”
The Winter Solstice on December 21st is the longest and darkest night of the year.

It can be uncomfortable being in the dark, and we feel that discomfort living in these dark times of uncertainty, confusion, chaos and change in our own lives, the life of our community and in our world. The darkness may seem more intense as we live in the midst of what, for many, is a joyous festive season. We wait for and long for light, healing and renewed hope in our hearts. We dwell in the dark, sacred night waiting for the dawn.

On Tuesday, December 20, at 7:00 pm we will come together to celebrate the Longest Night Service and pause to honor the fullness of the darkness in our lives at this time and our dream of returning light. This service has also been named the Blue Christmas Service. Blue represents the color of the sky right before dawn when the deepest darkness is just infused with hints of light and holds the promise that the sun will rise and that even after the bleakest, coldest, longest night, the night will break as the new day arrives. And so, we wait for the light, for God to renew and heal and renew our world.

This is the meaning of Christmas!

As we celebrate The Longest Night Service, we will remember loved ones who have died and also reflect on the pain, loneliness and sadness we may feel and all that keeps us from joy and the fullness of life. We are invited to offer it to God that we might let go of all that we no longer need to carry and open our hearts to the greater healing and wholeness of love.

My young grandson once said to me, after studying a rose window in a large Lutheran church, “The light always has some darkness (the lead between the glass), and the darkness always has some light (the stars). Can we discern the slivers of light in the darkness that seems to overwhelm us?

May we experience the light of God’s love ever more fully during this Christmas Season and
into the New Year
May we call forth from one another,
the light and the love that is present in every heart
and help light each other’s way.
May it be so!

All throughout these months
as the shadows have lengthened,
this blessing has been gathering itself,
making ready,
preparing for this night.
It has practiced walking in the dark,
traveling with its eyes closed,
feeling its way by memory
by touch
by the pull of the moon
even as it wanes.
So believe me when I tell you
this blessing will reach you
even if you have not light enough
to read it;
it will find you
even though you cannot
see it coming.
You will know the moment of its
arriving by your release
of the breath you have held
so long;
a loosening of the clenching
in your hands,
of the clutch around you heart;
a thinning of the darkness
that had drawn itself
around you.
This blessing does not mean
to take the night away
but it knows its hidden roads,
knows the resting spots
along the path,
knows what it means to travel
in the company of a friend.
So when this blessing comes,
take its hand.
Get up.
Set out on the road you cannot see.
This is the night when you can trust
that any direction you go,
you will be walking
toward the dawn.
— Jan Richardson

Mary C. Myers, Chaplain
Spiritual Director
December 14, 2022