Join us for longest night blue Christmas

Published 12:29 am Friday, December 14, 2018

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” we are told in both song and spoken word at this time of year.

Images of families gathering, the joy of children, much-desired presents being received, of heavenly choirs singing of God’s glory are all part of what we expect at this season.

You may associate the day or season with special foods cooked just once a year, with attendance at a church service with candlelight and special music. “Love,” “Hope” and “Joy” are words we see everywhere.

Nevertheless, you may find yourself joining with Charlie Brown saying, “But I’m not happy.” The reason may be that there was someone always present for previous Christmas celebrations who will be absent this year.

My own wife died on Dec. 12, 2017, after a 16-month struggle with cancer. For my children and me, December will always be colored by that reality. You too may have experienced the death of a loved one in the last year or even in prior years that may make you sad, even as the culture is trying to tell you to be happy.

You may have other reasons why you are unhappy this season. Economic circumstances may prevent you from meeting the needs or wants of people you love. You may have a wounded relationship with someone important to you. You may be unable to travel or people you desperately want to see may be unable to travel to you.

The Hebrew and Christian Scriptures affirm both prayers of joy and prayers of lament. Further, the hymnody of the Church has included songs of lament and songs of joy.

At 6 p.m. Dec. 21, Kingston United Methodist Church will host a “Longest Night/Blue Christmas” service. This service will acknowledge that prayers and songs of lament can be offered during this time.

The service will take place during the Winter Solstice, the Longest Night of the Year. We offer this service to the community in the hope that you will experience the embrace of God and of God’s people even in the hardest of times.

John tells us that “Light Shines in the Darkness and the Darkness has not overcome it.” That light shines in real darkness, and we need not deny the darkness to find the light.

Kingston United Methodist Church is located at 1090 Hutchins Landing Road, Natchez 39120.

Jon Altman is Pastor of Kingston and Lovely Lane United Methodist Churches.