I’ve often said that December 21st–winter solstice–is one of my favorite days of the year. On the face of things that may seem odd since it’s the shortest day and longest night of the year. But that’s just the point. Beginning this coming Sunday the days begin to grow longer!
That mixture of “darkest night” and “brightest hope” is a more helpful reflection of the season than the “tinsel and glitter” cultural expression of Christmas. The Advent and Christmas seasons are indeed full of bright hope. But woven into the fabric of the Advent and Christmas stories is fear and danger. Words such as “amazed,” “perplexed” and “Don’t be afraid” appear regularly in the narrative.
This year “longest night” falls on Sunday. We will therefore be observing what is known in the church as Blue Christmas. Although we won’t be singing the Elvis melody of the same name, what our worship shares in common with that tune is acknowledgement of grief and loss, which for many people are most acutely felt on holidays.
Whatever “night” looks like for you at this moment my prayer for you and your household is that you are able to glimpse some hope of return to the light.
Grace and peace…