The Longest Night

Longest-Day-Barn-Picture

And when it’s day to me, it’s night to someone

And when it’s night, you may not want to go on

                      – Mark Heard

Today is the longest night of the year and the beginning of winter, at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere. For our friends in the southern half like South Africa, Australia and New Zealand it’s the longest day and the beginning of summer. That’s because the earth tilts slightly, and on December 21 is when the northern hemisphere tilts furthest away from the sun, thus the longest night of the year. According the scientists, who have to have a scientific explanation for everything, a huge meteor shower bombarded the earth billions of years ago and pushed it off its axis. It’s amazing what you have to go through to explain things when you don’t have a God to just push the earth slightly with His finger because He wanted to create some joy and pain in our lives with the seasons. 

Just think, without that push, there would be no seasons — no migration of animals, birds and ocean life; just one identical day after another. 

But here we are with the winter solstice and the longest, darkest night of the year. It’s for this reason, and its close proximity to Christmas, that this day has birthed a tradition of “un-celebrations” called “The Longest Night” or “Blue Christmas.” 

Between stressful end-of-year deadlines, family dysfunction and loss, poor eating and drinking habits, and increasingly cold and dark winter days, it’s easy for the holiday season to feel not-so-merry and bright. As one member of the Catch community said, “Constant reminders of others’ happy seasons can additionally serve as a painful reminder of the happiness and love that’s lacking in my own life.” 

That’s why we have organized a service tonight to help us all get through the longest night. We will face into conflicts that tend to bubble up during the holidays including family conflict, loss, break-ups, divorce, loneliness and mental health issues. And we will do this with the help of prayer, comforting scripture and timely music from Bob Bennett and Lee Davis.

We will expose the unrealistic expectations that often cause disappointment such as trying to provide the perfect White Christmas, which creates the pressure of trying to do everything… perfectly. We will talk about the less-than-perfect family and traumas from holidays past. We are going to reveal our less-than-full holiday dance cards, comparing holiday experience with other people, and other recipes that call for increased sadness and isolation. 

Have you ever experienced the holiday blues? We will tell you more about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that’s brought on by the change of seasons. And, we will allow voice to the many people who are overloaded and depressed about being broke and alone at Christmas time. 

So does that all sound depressing? On the contrary, I think it sounds realistic at last.  Like one of Bob’s album titles, “Joy deep as sorrow,” digging down to the sadness leaves more room for joy. We hope to leave you more hopeful than when you came.

Click here at 6pm tonight to join the zoom meeting.

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5 Responses to The Longest Night

  1. Toni Petrella says:

    I like this time of year and I consider it a blessing from the Lord. Sometimes sleep more and enjoy sleeping than when the days are long. I have always believed that the Lord created the heavens and earth. All this is a blessing from him and to enjoy each season because after all he is the one responsible and cannot imagine life without this.

  2. So…
    The longest night turned out to be the longest day on my birthday:
    woke up at 4am, got out of bed at 6;
    spent some time with Jesus over some coffee and toast;
    watched a beautiful (rare) sunrise that filled me with gleeful anticipation;
    typed a few comments in the previous days Catch;
    did some grocery shopping and ran some mundane errands;
    hooked up with the kids at Jazz Alley in downtown Seattle for dinner and to listen to the Blind Boys of Alabama sing Christmas and Gospel tunes;
    like most of the other patrons, left Jazz Alley filled with the Spirit of Christmas;
    light sprinkles of rain fell on our noses and eyelashes;
    drove home and hit an object on the freeway that shredded a tire;
    discovered our car is not equipped with a spare tire but a tire inflation kit (which would be of no use in this instance);
    discovered our insurer could not provide road service until business hours the next day;
    convinced said insurer to send a tow truck immediately as we did not want to wait on the side of the freeway until daybreak following the longest night of the year;
    friendly tow truck driver arrived about an hour later but could not give us a ride due to Covid restrictions;
    stood in the rain for 15-minutes awaiting an Uber ride for home;
    arrived home just before midnight;
    will go to bed shortly after toweling off my hair;
    feelings of joy prevail as I think about the day spent with my Lord and my family; and the opportunity to hear His message sung to and received by an audience at a “secular” venue; and to chat with a burly-yet-sympathetic tow truck driver; and to have available a service that provides safe and comfortable passage to my home; and to know that things will work out in the end, that everything will be okay.

    What a wonderful, inspirational, and memorable birthday!
    Blessed be the Name of the Lord..,.

    Shalom, Peace and to all a good night!

    🙂

    • John A Fagliano says:

      So awesome that joy would prevail in spite of all the trouble just getting home. Your story is a reminder that good things are lasting while trials and tribulations pass. Thank you for sharing and happy birthday.

      • Thank you, John, I appreciate it.
        The five of us all took it in pretty good stride and, obviously, we’re fine today – just a little sleep-deprived and groggier but A-Okay.

        One thing I’ve learned over the decades (and it took several years to learn) is that many of the bemusing disruptions to our lives are often reflected upon with some humor and stories to tell at a future time. I know at my next birthday, the family will reflect and chuckle at this little adventure.
        Not everything can afford to be taken lightly but the passage of time teaches us that not everything needs to be taken so terribly seriously – especially at this most joyous time of the year. It helps immensely to know that our God, does indeed, have the whole world in His hands…

        🙂

    • jwfisch says:

      I just got. to read this just now. Wow. You DID have the longest night didn’t you? Thanks for your perspective, though. You could have made it much worse by your attitude, but it sounds like you actually had fun, or at least turned it into an adventure. Thanks for the story.

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