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.