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Tonight is the longest night of the year - winter solstice.  It is a moment of turning, from growing darkness to anticipating light.  Churches often hold a service this time of year to acknowledge the grief that many of us carry every day that is heightened at Christmas.  Yes, there is joy at Christmas time, but there is also the reality that there is much sadness, loss, grief.

Though we will not be gathering in church tonight, let us gather in spirit with one another.  Prayerfully hold the grief that many are carrying - whether because of a loss of a loved one, changed and diminished Christmas plans, chronic or terminal illness, struggles with mental health.  Light a candle as a reminder of the hope in that anticipated return of the light.

I share with you a prayer adapted from the writings of Edward Hays as it was posted today by Diane Butler Bass.

With prayers for peace, healing and the sustaining strength of God’s Spirit. ~ Ruthanne


On this long night. . . .
We are mindful that greed, exploitation, and hatred
lengthens its shadow over our small planet Earth.
As our ancestors feared death and evil and the depth of winter,
we fear that war, discrimination, and selfishness
may doom us and our planet to an eternal winter.

May we find hope in the candles and flames we kindle on this sacred night,
hope in one another and in all who form the web-work of peace and justice
that spans the world.

In the heart of every person on this Earth
burns the spark of luminous goodness;
no heart is totally frozen.
May we who have celebrated this winter solstice,
by our lives and service, by our prayers and passion,
call forth from one another the burning love
that is hidden in every heart.

— Edward Hays (adapted)

(As posted in Diane Butler Bass - from The Cottage - Advent Calendar - December 21st)