Longest Night

On Thursday night churches everywhere will be filled with happy people.  The lights will be on, the poinsettias arranged, the sweaters will be bright, the smiles will be wide.  People will gather in the pews and sing the traditional carols, hear the Christmas story as told by the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, and light candles.  Millions on Thursday night will rise and sing “Joy to the World.”

Many of those same people that will rise and sing on Thursday night will go to bed on Monday and face the longest night of the year in despair.  There will be many that lie down wondering, “Where is the joy?” 

The bills have not been paid, the credit debt is mounting, and work is hard to come by.  The night is so very long.

My mother died at this time of the year.  Christmas won’t be the same.  I miss her smile.  I miss her words of wisdom.  I miss her so much, and the night is so very long.

For the last 53 Christmases I have been with my husband.  He held me in his arms as we watched the children, then the grandhcildren, open their presents.  He made hot cocoa every Christmas morning.  I do not even know the recipe, and the night is so very long.

The onesies I got for Christmas last year are put in a box in the attic.  Never worn.  Never held.  I miss my child and I never held him in my arms, and the night is so very long.

The night can be so very long.  The night can be so very dark and cold. 

Some say that everything happens for a reason.  God is in control, and has a plan.  But what kind of God could plan such things?  Is this the God that I am supposd to celebrate?  Is this the God that I am supposed to worship?  How can I sing “Joy to the World,” when there is none in my own heart?

Christmas does not mean everything is okay.  Christmas did not end the sadness, the pain or the despair.  For those that are hurting at Christmas, I hope you know that you are not alone.  I do not offer you simple platitudes.  I do not offer you easy answers.  All I can offer you is my love.

I don’t think that everything happens for a reason.  I think there are terrible things that happen everyday that God did not plan. I also think that God gives us the power and the grace to overcome even the worst that can happen.  God gives us the chance to heal and be healed; to feed and be fed; to love and be loved.

The longest night can be so very long.  Christmas does not end the night, but it gives us hope for the dawn.

If you are in the midst of the longest night, I invite you to come to Chenoa United Methodist Church on Monday, December 21 at 4 p.m.  The service will end just before sunset of the longest night of the year, and hopefully it will help you to know that you are not alone this Christmas.


Filed under Christianity

5 responses to “Longest Night

  1. Just a great post! It reminds me of the expression “dark night of the soul” or, the typical process by and through which Christians grow and become mature…God Bless,Merry Christmas!

  2. My heart goes out to you this holiday season. However, I do believe everything happens for a reason. God has His hand in everything that goes on in life. He has the hairs on our head counted, and He sees the sparrows fall, so I trust… I hope… I believe… that He has His hand in your life. Praying always, Marty

  3. tnrambler

    Sunday night marked my 4th Longest Night/Blue Christmas service. It has become my favorite of the season because of the emphasis on helping people to see the light that has come to dispel the darkness and to give them permission to grieve. May your service today be a blessing.

  4. Michelle

    Robb as someone who has hurt at Christmas time, I appreciate your words of comfort. And to Marty who commented above, I sure hope you are wrong, because if it is God who caused my unborn baby to die, or my Aunt to die of cancer, or my Grandmother to suffer with dimentia or my husband to lose his job, or my brother-in-law to lose his house….I don’t want any part of him. I don’t think the devil himself could do worse.

  5. Eric

    Thank for the post Robb. I wish I could have been there.

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