Saturday 21st December 2013 Winter Solstice - The Longest Night and Advent-Christmas Blues

Saturday is the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year in the Northern hemisphere.

It's also a time to remember that many people can be experiencing acute pangs of Advent/Christmas Blues.......


Click here for my post on Advent Blues from 2011- Light A Candle In The Darkness

Click here for my 2010 post from the Archives

   Jan Richardson has posted a beautiful image and prayer/blessing.

Jan says "many congregations will offer a “Longest Night” or “Blue Christmas” service. Usually held on or near the Winter Solstice, this gathering provides a space for those who are having a difficult time during the holidays or simply need to acknowledge some pain or loss they are carrying in the midst of this season of celebration. For you who are offering or participating in such a service, and for all who struggle in this season, I wish you many blessings and pray for the presence of Christ our Light, who goes with us in the darkness and in the day."

Blessing for the Longest Night

All throughout these months
as the shadows
have lengthened,
this blessing has been
gathering itself,
making ready,
preparing for
this night.

It has practiced
walking in the dark,
traveling with
its eyes closed,
feeling its way
by memory
by touch
by the pull of the moon
even as it wanes.

So believe me
when I tell you
this blessing will
reach you
even if you
have not light enough
to read it;
it will find you
even though you cannot
see it coming.

You will know
the moment of its
by your release
of the breath
you have held
so long;
a loosening
of the clenching
in your hands,
of the clutch
around your heart;
a thinning
of the darkness
that had drawn itself
around you.

This blessing
does not mean
to take the night away
but it knows
its hidden roads,
knows the resting spots
along the path,
knows what it means
to travel
in the company
of a friend.

So when
this blessing comes,
take its hand.
Get up.
Set out on the road
you cannot see.

This is the night
when you can trust
that any direction
you go,
you will be walking
toward the dawn.

© Jan Richardson.
So this Sunday we get to appreciate the lighting up of four Advent candles !! 

Image source
H/T to Larry Carriere for sharing this poem
Candles at Christmas
Roses in December
 by Howard Thurman

I will light candles this Christmas.
Candles of joy, despite all the sadness.
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch.
Candles of courage where fear is ever present.
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days.
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens.
Candles of love to inspire all of my living.
Candles that will burn all the year long.

How far that little candle throws his beams! 
So shines a good deed in a weary world.— William Shakespeare

Winter solstice
Winter solstice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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