Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Longest Night Service

My church has been doing a Longest Night/Blue Christmas service for 3 years now.  I wasn't aware of this tradition before my church started doing one.  I went to our first one, but last year, I didn't go because I had family in town.  Last night I went again.

It was a very small group, 6 in the congregation, plus our pastor and organist; the first service two years ago had almost 30 people, although I may be remembering wrong.

It was a lovely story.  We lit the candles on the Advent wreath, as we read a liturgy that explored reasons why this season might be leaving us empty-feeling.  We read some Bible verses.  Woven throughout the service was the singing of each verse of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel."

During the prayer, we had prayer stations.  We had a stop at the baptismal font to remember our baptism and a station where we could be anointed with oil.  We had a station where we could light candles to remember our loved ones and a Christmas tree where we could hang a paper ornament on which we had written our blessings.  We had a station with a box of sand where we could write our sins and shortcomings in the sand and then wipe it away.

We ended with communion and sang "Silent Night" together.  It was a beautiful service.

In important ways, it reminded me of Compline service at Mepkin Abbey--it's a good way to end the day.

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