This will be the 11th year of holding this service at St. John Lutheran Church
Christmas is supposed to be a time filled with comfort and joy and a time when everything is merry and bright, but for many people this is not the case. This time of the year can be quite depressing for people that are experiencing grief or loss of a loved one. There are many reasons why a person finds this time of the year difficult. All the festivities going on around them may be adding to the sadness that they feel. It was for this reason that the Longest Night church service originated.
A member of St. John Lutheran Church in Salmon Creek had been going through a time of grief after the death of her husband when she read about a Longest Night service. She was inspired to create this type of experience for her own church. She and others from St. John Lutheran Church created a contemplative service that is held on Dec. 21, the winter solstice, of each year. This will be the 11th year of holding this service at St. John.
It is a quiet service with live music, prayers and scripture readings. The sanctuary is dimly lit and people feel comfortable to cry if they want. Towards the end of the service, the congregation will come forward, light a candle from the Christ candle, then move to the altar which is filled with small unlit candles which symbolize a person’s burdens. The person can then light one or more of the candles on the altar, symbolizing bringing Christ’s light to their burdens.
The idea is that by the time the service is over each person will have peace and hope and the understanding that Christ is with them, even in their darkest hour. All people are welcome to this memorable service.
The Longest Night service will be held Tue., Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. at St. John Lutheran Church, 11005 NE Highway 99, Vancouver 98686. For more information call (360) 573-1461 or visit www.stjohnlc.com.
To see a video of a previous year’s service visit https://youtu.be/SvOvfg4my-Y.