While the holiday season is often fun and festive, for many it can be full of painful memories and tearful nights. During this darkest season of the calendar—and perhaps on this longest night of the year—please use this liturgy as an individual or family to help you reflect on the pain, grief, and anger you may be experiencing during this season and how God can still comfort you with God’s hope and peace.
Opening Words / Call to Worship
We cry to the Lord who counts and collects our tears.
Be with us now.
In our grief and our pain, our bodies and spirits cry out.
Hear us, O Lord. Amen.
The days are short. The nights are long. Lord, your universe mirrors the reality of our hearts, revealing your gracious spirit that mourns with us in grief, cries with us in sorrow, sits with us in despair. You are not a distant God, removed from human pain, but a faithful companion closer to us than our tears. Help us to feel your presence now as we remember and reflect, seeking your healing touch and the hope that was promised and delivered in Jesus Christ your Son. Amen.
Lighting of the Advent Candles (any candles would do)
[Reader 1]: We light these candles in thanksgiving for loved ones lost,
for past health and joy that now seems distant.
[Reader 2]: We light these candles in prayer, that we will feel God’s love
in our present sorrow.
[Reader 3]: We light these candles in hope, for the promises of God to be revealed.
[All]: Glory to God. Amen.
1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.
Psalm 61:1-4; 62:1-2
1 Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
2 From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
4 I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
62:1 Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Sermonette: a short video from Pastor Jason
Charge and Blessing
May Jesus, the life—the life that is light for all people—
shine in your heart.
No matter how small, no matter how dim, that light
will stubbornly shine.
And the darkness will not overcome it.
Go in peace, with courage to face the coming days
with hope, with God by your side. Amen.