In our Northern Hemisphere, Monday, December 21 marks the winter solstice. As Summer turned to fall the daylight hours have been getting shorter. Monday, Dec 21 marks the shortest amount of daylight that we will see all year. This day also marks the longest amount of darkness that we will see all year. This is why the 21st of December is celebrated as “Longest Night.” Throughout the season of winter, no matter how cold it gets or how much snow we have, the days will get increasingly longer.
Longest Night, then, is a day of celebration. Just when we wonder how dark our lives/our world can get, the earth turns, and daylight begins to creep back. We celebrate God’s amazing creation.
Longest Night is also a day of reflection. The year that has been, has been a year of light and dark, sorrow and joy. We reflect. What has been gained and what has been lost? Longest Night is a time to savor our past year of life, with all of its triumphs and failures, wisdom gathered, challenges faced.
Longest Night is a day of hope. The past has been attended to, and with the promise of increased daylight, we gather our hopes for tomorrow, and set intentions for the New Year.
Your Stephen Ministers have a long tradition of hosting a Longest Night worship service that is rich in meaning and ritual. And this year is no different. The format, however, has changed to accommodate the limitations imposed upon us by the Pandemic.
This year’s Longest Night service will feature a “drive-thru” experience on the Upper level of the parking ramp. Anytime between the hours of 6 and 7:30 p.m., cars can enter from the East (40th street). You will be met by a Stephen Minister and you will be guided past the stations of:
Letting Go. You will have the opportunity to cast into the fire a personally written word that represents an experience, an emotion that you are ready to let go of.
Prayer. You will have the opportunity to be prayed for as you transition from the year that has been to the year that lies ahead.
Light. You will be invited to add your light to the other lights, all the candles representing hope and intention for the coming year.
Communion. You will be served communion by one of your pastors. You will leave the parking lot then, fed, nourished, strengthened by the very presence of Jesus Christ.
Please bring your family, bring a friend, and join us for a quiet, meaningful evening in the comfort of your vehicle, under the stars, on the Longest Night of the year.
P.S. If the sun is out on Monday at noon, go outside and snap a picture of your shadow. It will be your longest all year.