December 21st is the longest night of the year. I am acutely aware of the shortening days--that the sun rose today at 7:18 am and after a quick trip across the sky will set at 4:31 pm. I know that tomorrow night, darkness will come a minute sooner and daylight will delay. I know this because I suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression that is triggered by the changing season and shortened daylight. Every fall, I become depressed and agitated and weary.
SAD is not a universal experience, but I believe we all struggle with darkness. Whether it's lack of confidence, loss of job (or lack of good work), broken relationships, grief, addiction, or any other of it's many forms, darkness looms over us. And yet...
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it --John 1:5
As Christians, we place our hope in one who is beyond ourselves, Jesus Christ, the light and life of all people. At this time of year, we anticipate his coming in two ways: 1) remembering and celebrating his birth when God became flesh among us, and 2) anticipating his coming again when his light will scatter the darkness from our path. This is the hope we are praying for. Come, Lord Jesus.
For all of us who struggle with darkness of some kind, Calvary is offering a healing service called "The Longest Night." Held on the winter solstice, the longest light of the year, we will gather out of the dark night and into the light of Christ. We recognize that the holidays can be a long and painful experience. We realize that losses in our lives can take much of the joy out of the season.
On Wednesday, December 21st, we will recognize the real darkness that exists in our lives and in the world. At the same time we hope that glimpses of light might shine through, just as the stars pierce the dark, cold winter night.
You are invited to come an receive healing on the longest night of the year. There will be opportunities in worship to receive prayer and anointing, light candles in the memory of loved ones, write prayers and rest in song and in silence.
And we will know, tomorrow the sun will shine a little longer; tomorrow will be a little brighter.