People have undergone unprecedented loss this year. Family and friends have succumbed to death in this pandemic, millions have lost economic security through loss of jobs, some have lost businesses they built over a lifetime. Most of us have lost our beloved rhythms of life that felt familiar and gave our lives the richness of gatherings and adventure. And we can name so many losses related to hatred and violence.
Throughout Advent we proclaim hope, love, joy, and peace in the midst of difficulty. This is the church’s gift to the world–that our faith story is grounded in the presence of God that came and dwelt among us in the midst of hardship. But on the “longest night”–the Winter Solstice–it has become a tradition among some churches to hold a “Blue Christmas” or “Longest Night” service to acknowledge and remember those we have lost. It is important to name that sometimes hope, love, joy, and peace are distant feelings when we have encountered so much loss. The anticipation of renewed grief as Christmas Eve approaches can be difficult to bear for many. Ritual helps us move through these feelings and funnel our heartbreak in ways that, while not alleviating it totally, gives space for a tangible remembering. This will be especially important in 2020 because we often were not able to gather and ritualize our loss in the ways we usually do.
On Sunday night, December 20 at 7pm the Service of Longest Night will premier on the church FB page and on YouTube.
Also, the proposed plan to hold a “live” Christmas Eve service on Academy Hill has been cancelled due to the spiking of COVID cases. There will be a virtual Christmas Eve service, which will premier at 7pm on December 24th.
Wishing all a blessed Christmas,