The Longest Night of the Year

December 21st is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. It is also the longest night of the year. It seems so ironic that it would occur so close to the very pinnacle of Advent, when the heart longs most deeply and desperately for the Light of the World to be born.

But He is not yet here…

This day is for all those who are struggling to recover from grief, trauma, and addictions.

This day is for all those who are wrestling with mental health diagnoses.

This day is for the tired, the worn, the weary…for the hurting, the broken, the aching.

The ones who are longing.

This day, above all other days, is the day that signifies the longest period of darkness the world has endured all year. Sometimes all you can do is stare into the nothingness of the bleak darkness. Sometimes you can’t see anything else. When you are in the dark, it is easy to think you are utterly alone. You can’t see the other people around you. That doesn’t mean they aren’t there. It can be hard to find one another when there is little light or warmth to be had. Sometimes we fumble — we falter — we fall. Don’t stop looking. The very next time you reach out your groping, trembling hand, you may find that it clasps the seeking hand of another.

This night of seemingly unending darkness also signifies something else. This knock-down-drag-out grueling night signifies that every night after this will be shorter. Every day will be longer, brighter. Yes, it will be cold sometimes and the clouds may block the warmth of the sun’s rays. But, there is a promise that nights will turn to days and ice will eventually melt into green grass and the hope of new life.

This Scripture appears in both the Old and New Testaments, but it seems appropriate for this day that we see the one from Isaiah–the one that was still a promise that aching hearts longed to behold. before the promise was fulfilled:

The people walking in darkness

have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of deep darkness

a light has dawned.

Isaiah 9:2

For now, we look defiantly at the night, huddled together, seeking warmth wherever it may be found. We make it through the long, long night by looking for one another. We share what little warmth we have, and it multiplies. To all those who are in the dark, we are here too. Let’s fumble our way through the cold, dark night together until we come into the light and warmth of life once again.

From our family to you — We can make it!

Patricia is the Coordinator of Alumni and Church Relations at Asbury Theological Seminary and the Managing Editor for Soul Care Community. She and her teenage son live and play video games together in Wilmore, KY. Patricia's passions are inner healing ministry, spiritual formation, cooking, writing, growing things, and teaching others how to have a vibrant prayer life.


One response to “The Longest Night of the Year”

  1. Mary Morton says:

    Great analogy!

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