Sunday, December 19, 2004

Blue Christmas: Longest Night

My church has an annual event I appreciate so much. It's called "The Longest Night" and it's an evening service during the week of Christmas to celebrate the winter solstice. It commemorates the literal fact that the darkest night (longest period of dark, least light) occurs in December, but also to acknowledge that many people are going through very difficult times now.
A holiday service of prayers, music, and candle-lighting. This is an opportunity to step away from the busy-ness of the holiday season for a quiet moment. Prayers will acknowledge those who have experienced losses of many kinds during the year. Invite someone who could benefit.

Christmas is no fun for those dealing with (or remembering) death, divorce, loneliness, financial or health difficulties -- it can be a very tough time. It's a comfort to have a church service to go to that's all about Christmas NOT being the most wonderful time of the year. It's a perfect counterbalance to the marketing blitz of Happy Happy Happy Holidays!

It was so important for me the year my dad broke his hip December 2 and I spent most of the month in hospital ER waiting rooms, nursing homes and bedside as he was having a helluva bad time. It was about 5 months later that he died and I'm still so thankful for a place to go during the holidays that's not about how joyful life is ... because life isn't so joyful sometimes.

It's important for me to go this year, (it's Tuesday evening 7:30 on December 21) despite feeling very happy and very blessed, to support the people who are going through rough times.