For those living in the northern hemisphere, December 21st or the Winter Solstice is the day with the least amount of daylight. In some churches this is recognized in worship with a “Longest Night” or “Blue Christmas” service.
Ever Present God,
On this night our siblings in the northern hemisphere experience the longest night of the year.
This extended darkness is a stark reminder that there are times we feel cut off from you.
While we find some comfort in our faith that you are always true to your promises,
that you will never leave us,
nor forsake us,
that in our hearts we know you will never abandon us.
In the face of overwhelming darkness, our faith is shaded by real, tangible, doubts.
Even for those in the southern hemisphere, where this is the longest day of the year,
we can still feel distant from you, Holy One. As though your voice is silent, and your presence light-years away.
As though we are hidden from your sight.
As we scan the headlines we see a world that is broken, fragmented, shattered by war and conflict.
We name Ukraine entering its 665th day fighting Russia.
We remember the suffering in Yemen with 233,000 deaths, including 131,000 from indirect causes such as lack of food, health services and infrastructure.
We pray for the peoples of Haiti where a former senator is now entering life imprisonment for the assassination of President Moïse in 2021. We pray for this nation disrupted by over 200 gangs erasing any sense of safety and security.
We mourn Palestine and Gaza with over 20,000 deaths and over 2 million people are displaced in a matter of two months. May nations rise up in compassion for women, children, elders, the non combatants who are caught in war.
We cry out for the Czech Republic where we hear there has been a mass shooting at Prague University with 15 dead and the wounded numbering 24. Lord have Mercy.
We pray for Israel as a week-long cease-fire is being proposed in exchange for hostages.
We see a world that needs your presence as much as it did the incarnation of Christ in Bethlehem, Palestine 2000 years ago.
Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love can be hard to find.
Despair, Strife, Horrendous Violence, Deepening Sorrow and Hate seem to be everywhere we look.
O, how this world is broken.
We are broken.
But you have shown us, Gracious God, that the broken and barren are central;
to your presence,
your redemption, and to your salvation.
Elizabeth, Zachariah, Mary, Joseph, and so many … were broken and confused.
AND, they were beautiful participants in co-creating your beloved community here on earth.
So come to us in our brokenness.
Come to us in the looming darkness, in the harsh rays of the noonday sun.
Be born in us.
Transform the world through us. Recreate us to be your people.
Hopeful, Peacemaking people.
Remind us of the beauty within, whatever we are feeling and experiencing.
Be born in us today, Emmanuel, God with us.