Tonight at 7 pm at St. Paul's Memorial Church in Charlottesville, we are holding a worship service in a way that we have not done before. We are calling it "The Liturgy of the Longest Night," mindful that today is the Winter Solstice, and mindful that this is a time of year that is difficult for many (including yours truly).
Not everyone finds the Christmas jollies so jolly.
But we are also mindful that the nights now turn shorter and the days turn longer. Some churches call this service "A Blue Christmas," but as we talked about it at St. Paul's, that just seemed, well, too blue. Tonight is still Advent, still the time of waiting before the dawn. The light comes even in the darkest night, and even a glimmer of hope can shine into our hearts.
For many, this is a hard season because of a loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job, or a health issue that is gnawing on body and mind. This is also a time of anxious waiting for many -- a son or daughter away at school or in a job in a far off city, or in uniform on a battlefield, or aboard a ship-of-war at sea. Or maybe you are like me, living here in Charlottesville with family far away.
Santa down the chimney doesn't seem to ring quite right for some.
So whatever it is that you wait, come join us tonight. We will pray, listen, sit in silence, light candles, hear music, and provide healing prayers for those who seek them. Come join us at St. Paul's tonight, the longest night, but marking the night when the darkness begins to recede and the days begin to brighten.