Joy, excitement, happiness - these are all expectations of the Christmas season. However, this season can be especially difficult for those who are dealing with the pain of loss or struggling with health issues, job loss, and other challenges.
The Longest Night Service is designed for those who are grieving or struggling. It is scheduled near the winter solstice - the longest night of the calendar year.
This year’s service will begin at 5:00 p.m. this Sunday, December 14, in the sanctuary.
“GOD KNOWS OUR SORROW” is the title of Dr. Bill Tankersley’s sermon, which will be based on Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11. Worshipers will have an opportunity to take Holy Communion, light a candle signifying their loss or worry, and then pray at the altar alone or with a minister, if they wish.
Beautiful harp music will be provided by students of Ruth Giessen.
Author Taylor Caldwell writes, “I am not alone - I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.”
God chooses this time to bring the world’s greatest hope into the very darkness of life that seems to weigh us down. There is, indeed, hope for those who live in darkness.
Perhaps you’re ready for a jolly Christmas with all of the trimmings. But being a faithful Christian during Advent means we are willing to stand in the darkness with others because that’s where Emmanuel promises to be.
While Advent for many is little more than a pre-Christmas celebration with festive traditions and rituals, the Longest Night Service makes space for the real meaning of Advent. Our hope comes as a light that our darkest moments cannot conquer, and during this season we prepare our hearts to receive it.