The Longest Night

The 21 December is the longest night of the year.  It is cold and dark and the warm balmy evenings of summer seem a long way away.

Over the past few weeks we have been remembering in prayer all those who find Christmas difficult.  Dealing with the loss of a loved one, facing life after divorce or separation, coping with the loss of a job, living with an illness that puts a question mark over the future. Things like this make the joviality of celebration painful for many people who feel ‘down’ at Christmas. It is good to be able to
acknowledge these feelings and to bring them to God.

The author Jan Richardson has written a beautiful piece of prose that offers healing and hope.

May the presence of Christ our Light, who goes with us in the darkness and in the day, be yours this Christmas.

Mark Abrey


Blessing for the Longest Night

longest night

All throughout these months
as the shadows
have lengthened,
this blessing has been
gathering itself,
making ready,
preparing for
this night.

It has practiced
walking in the dark,
traveling with
its eyes closed,
feeling its way
by memory
by touch
by the pull of the moon
even as it wanes.

So believe me
when I tell you
this blessing will
reach you
even if you
have not light enough
to read it;
it will find you
even though you cannot
see it coming.

You will know
the moment of its
by your release
of the breath
you have held
so long;
a loosening
of the clenching
in your hands,
of the clutch
around your heart;
a thinning
of the darkness
that had drawn itself
around you.

This blessing
does not mean
to take the night away
but it knows
its hidden roads,
knows the resting spots
along the path,
knows what it means
to travel
in the company
of a friend.

So when
this blessing comes,
take its hand.
Get up.
Set out on the road
you cannot see.

This is the night
when you can trust
that any direction
you go,
you will be walking
toward the dawn.

© Jan Richardson, from

Image: Longest Night © Jan Richardson used with permission

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