Blue Christmas/Longest Night Service
Use an open space if possible, with four prayer stations:
Candle-lighting (tealight candle or small votives)
Journaling (index cards, pieces of colored paper, or blank cards and pens/pencils)
Prayer Bracelets (thread or cord with colorful beads)
Baptism Remembrance (bowl and pitcher of water, towel)
Station Descriptions (for the bulletin or sign)
Candle-lighting: you are welcome to light a candle in memory of a loved one, for a past memory, or simply to give light in the darkness
Journaling: you are welcome to write a prayer, a note to someone who is no longer with you, a card of gratitude, or a word of forgiveness for yourself or someone else. You can leave the card here to be prayed over, or take it with you.
Prayer Bracelets: you are invited to create a bracelet, with each bead symbolizing someone you love, a hope that you have, a prayer you wish to share. Tie it around your wrist to remember.
Baptism Remembrance: you are invited to pour water over one another’s hands, sprinkle water on yourself or another to remember that you belong to God. You are God’s beloved. In God, you have new life.
Music: This service has no singing in it. Having an organist or pianist play softly in the background is encouraged, or using a CD with soft music. The George Winston album December has some appropriate tracks that would fit the mood. You do not want all dark and depressing, but you will want to avoid the great joyful Christmas carols.
We gather in this time and place because these times and places are difficult for us. Christmas is almost here but we mourn, we grieve, we feel alone, we feel darkness. Others are celebrating and we just are not there. We gather here to give space to our feelings, to who we are, to be authentic. God knows all of us. God knows us. God is with us.
Invitation to Silent Meditation
You are invited to a time of silent meditation, a space in which to be with your thoughts, to reflect on the season, what your hopes and dreams are, or, if you cannot go there, where you are at now. We offer this time of silence without joy, without celebration, but to simply be who you are in this space.
Invitation to the prayer stations
The room is set with stations for prayer and reflection. Choose the station that you feel drawn to. In this time, you may go to all of them, or one, or sit quietly in continued reflection.
Prayer Stations/Silent Meditation
Scripture: John 1:1-5
Invitation to Corporate Prayer
Holy God, in this time the darkness is great, but we know that the light is coming. We know that the light shines in the darkness, and darkness will not overcome it. Help us to not be concerned about the expectations of others, but instead to come before You, wholly ourselves, fully recognizing our loss, our grief, our own darkness. May You be our light when we cannot be light ourselves. May we fully recognize and rely on Your light in this time. Guide us in this time to know that Your light is returning, and that our light will shine again. Grant us peace. Grant us forgiveness. Grant us hope. In the name of the living Christ, who went through the darkest of times to become the Light of the World, we pray. Amen.
Words of Assurance and Blessing (from Isaiah 40:3-5):
“A voice cries out: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low. The uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
God will lead us out of the wilderness.
God will lead us out of the desert, where we feel alone and cold.
God will lead us up out of the valleys and out of the rough places.
It will get smoother. It will get easier. It will get better.
Until that day, may our darkness become a little softer,
The light a little warmer.
Go knowing that God is with you, leading you on, leading you home, leading you to light.