"5:45 a.m. ET Wednesday: It Only Gets Better from Here." That was the headline in yesterday's USA Today, referring to this morning's Winter Solstice. Today, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted the farthest it gets from the sun, making it the shortest day of the year and the official beginning of winter. Some of you may shudder when you read this, for you are already tired of darkness and cold. Some of you may read this with optimism, reasoning that if this is the shortest day of the year, then tomorrow the days will start to lengthen. Either way, isn't it interesting that, at least in this part of the world, we prepare for the birth of Christ in the cold dark of winter?
Tonight, when we gather for Holden Evening Prayer, we worship in the light of 4 Advent candles, in the light of the Christ candle, in the light of a tree bearing symbols of Jesus Christ. During the service, we light candles as we lift our deepest prayers to God. We remember the words of John, who tells us of the light that always has been: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life,* and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it."
This day is also known by some as "Blue Christmas." Elvis may have been on to something when he sang of it. In some churches, Blue Christmas services are held to support those in the community whose days are not merry and bright. People who have lost loved ones, who have not been able to conceive, who have lost jobs, who have had to drop out of college, those who are incarcerated and their families, who have a dire diagnosis: for all of these, the tinsel and the bells and the cookies lack any meaning, for they are experiencing a season that brings them everything but joy. Could we each stop for a moment today and think of someone we know for whom this is a Blue Christmas? Maybe sending that person a note or a card or an email might help him or her feel not quite so alone.
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE:
Tonight, 5:30 pm at Zion: Meal and Holden Evening Prayer
Saturday, 7:00 pm at Zion: Christmas Eve Worship
Sunday, 10:30 am at St. Mark: Christmas Day Worship
******O, come let us adore him, Christ the Lord!******
We keep in our prayers: Marion Fontaine, hospitalized at Roanoke Memorial; Debbie Fullbright, hospitalized at Duke with cellulitis; Debbie DeJesus, in thanksgiving for a successful surgery and in anticipation of a second surgery on January 9; Pat Burton, recuperating at home; Tom King, moving to Jacksonville, FL.
I hope to see you in worship this holy week!