The Christmas Season can be a painful time of year for those who have recently lost loved ones or are living with life-altering circumstances. To help many find solace during the holiday season, Firelands Presbyterian Church and the Port Clinton Ministerial Association will host “Longest Night: A Worship Service of Hope, Strength and Community” on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
“The short service is to provide company and connection for people who need it at this time of year,” said Alison Lanza Falls, an author and inspirational speaker from Catawba Island. “It is a short service, and everyone will have the opportunity to light a candle, a visual that is all about love.”
The “Longest Night” service will be short, ministers from local churches will lead the service, there will not be a collection plate and, for those requiring it, tissues will be available at the end of every aisle.
Paster Mark Cooper of Firelands Presbyterian Church, 2626 E. Harbor Road, Port Clinton, will host the event. Communion is open to everyone, and there will be no rules. For more information, call 419-734-6211.
This is a time of quiet singing, prayers, candle lighting and remembering that Christ is the promised light in the darkness. Rev. Cooper asked everyone to plan to come — and to think about who they would like to invite this year.
Not everyone feels like celebrating during the holidays, said Falls. Grief, illness, aging, depression, loneliness, unemployment, and loss are magnified. Even those who are not struggling may feel the stress of preparations and expectations around Christmas.
In the Northern Hemisphere, Dec. 21 is the longest night, the winter solstice, which means literally “standing still.” It marks the shortest day of the year, the official start of winter, when the sun is the farthest distance from the earth. In the gathering darkness of December, we anticipate the coming again of the Light of the World.
It may only be the hope that marks Advent’s waiting that keeps us looking toward the coming of Christ. It may also be that the blue of the Advent season (which is a symbol of hope) is the very remedy we need for what makes us feel “blue” at Christmas.