This time of year can be tough: Some of us get seasonal affective disorder as the days become shorter and shorter. * Some churches have a “Blue Christmas” service for folks who have experienced loss in the past year or so. To be sure, the holiday season can be difficult for those of us who have lived through the death of a family member or dear friend. But, rather than “going all Elvis on you,” we at Plymouth have a tradition of the Longest Night Service, which acknowledges the complex feelings of the season. Darkness can be overwhelming, and when it is, being together in a community of kindred souls in the company of God can be reassuring that the light is coming.
We all need a reminder that, as the prologue to John’s Gospel tells us, “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” It is a holy thing to acknowledge that we, some of us, feel adrift at this time of year. My hope for our Longest Night Service is that it provides a spiritual mooring for those who attend.
This year we will hear our newest choral group, the Plymouth Chamber Choir, as well as handbells, harp, and flute, and we will use a litany from the Iona Community in Scotland. Jake and Jane Anne will preside at communion, and (for those who wish) I will offer individual prayers for healing and wholeness.
It is a dark time of year, but our faith in God can help us see through the darkness into the light. The light is surely coming! Please join us this Sunday, December 16, at 6:00 p.m. as we join together as witnesses both to the darkness and to the light.
* Any kind of depression is nothing to fool around with…help is available…ask one of your pastors or your physician or therapist for help.
The Rev. Hal Chorpenning has been Plymouth's senior minister since 2002. Before that, he was associate conference minister with the Connecticut Conference of the UCC. A grant from the Lilly Endowment enabled him to study Celtic Christianity in the UK and Ireland. Prior to ordained ministry, Hal had a business in corporate communications. Read more about Hal.