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From Pastor Hahn, Trinity Lutheran Church, Danville, Pa, an adaptation of

Longest Night: Blue Christmas Evening Prayer

December 21, 2021

While Advent is a season of hope and Christmas is a season of joy, not everyone feels hopeful or

like celebrating. Grief, illness, aging, depression, loneliness, unemployment, and loss are

magnified. Even those who are not struggling with losses may feel the stress of preparations and

expectations around Christmas time. A Longest Night/Blue Christmas service may provide a

time and place of solace during the often frenetic days surrounding the celebration of Christmas.

We come together seeking healing and room to share grief, sadness, loneliness, or confusion

when these emotions often feel out of place during the holidays.

In the Northern Hemisphere, December 21 is the longest night, the winter solstice. It marks the

shortest day of the year, the official start of winter. Tradition says that nature and all her

creatures stop and hold their breath to see if the sun will turn back from its wanderings, if the

days will lengthen and the earth will once again feel the sun’s warmth. On this darkest day of the

year, we come with our honest yearnings seeking the return of light and hope.

Silent Meditation

Allow yourself to breathe deeply, starting with three very deep breaths. Think of God – Father,

Son, and Holy Spirit – as you do.

Then, allow your mind to be at peace at least a few minutes.

Candle Lighting

If it is helpful to you and you find the place in which you are seated poorly lit, you may light

candles to help remind you of the light of God.

Prayer Hymn

Speak aloud:

Joyous light of heav'nly glory,

loving glow of God's own face,

you who sing creation's story,

shine on ev'ry land and race.

Now as evening falls around us,

we shall raise our songs to you.

God of daybreak, God of shadows,

come and light our hearts anew.

Psalm 27

You may speak the psalm aloud or read it silently to yourself:

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life;

of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh— my adversaries and foes— they shall stumble

and fall.

Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I

will be confident.

One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days

of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his

tent; he will set me high on a rock.

Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices

with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!

“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek.

Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my

help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!

If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.

Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.

Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and

they are breathing out violence.

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Prayer

Pray aloud or silently…

Lord God, our light and our salvation, grant that your servant who seeks your face in times of

trouble may see your goodness in the land of the living, and that I may be set safely on the rock

of our faith, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Amen.

Silent Meditation

Allow yourself to breathe deeply, starting with three very deep breaths. Think of God – Father,

Son, and Holy Spirit – as you do.

Then, allow your mind to be at peace at least a few minutes.

Reading Isaiah 40:1-11

Speak aloud or silently to yourself:

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that

she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand

double for all her sins.

A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a

highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low;

the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord

shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” A

voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All people are grass, their constancy is

like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of

the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the

word of our God will stand forever.

Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength,

O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is

your God!” See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with

him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the

lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.

Reading John 1:1-5, 14

Speak aloud or silently to yourself:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in

the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing

came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all

people.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.And the Word became

flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of

grace and truth.

Reflect or Meditate

You might choose to reflect on the lessons you’ve read or you might choose to meditate again,

this time letting your mind be guided by the readings. You are worthy. You are loved. You are

enough. God brings this message to you in word, in silence, and in spirit.

Gospel Canticle

Speak aloud the words of the hymn…

My soul proclaims your greatness, Lord;

I sing my Savior's praise!

You looked upon my lowliness,

and I am full of grace.

Now ev'ry land and ev'ry age

this blessing shall proclaim—

great wonders you have done for me,

and holy is your name.

Contemplative Prayer

This is a time for silent prayer, followed by meditation. If you are comfortable, you may speak

your prayer(s) aloud.

Lord’s Prayer

Speak aloud…

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name,

thy kingdom come,

thy will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those

who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

and the power, and the glory,

forever and ever. Amen.

Blessing

Speak aloud…

May the Lord bring blessing.

May the Lord’s face shine on all with grace and mercy.

May the Lord look upon me and all Creation with favor and give us peace.

Amen.

Conclusion

If you wish to repeat the service, do so. If you are feeling ready to peacefully conclude your

night, you may want to simply sit quietly for a while, or to read, or to prepare for you nightly

slumber. Be sure to extinguish your wax candles and to remind yourself again, before drifting off

to sleep: I am worthy in the Lord. I am loved by the Lord. I am enough by the Lord.

May peace fall upon you in refreshment and ease.

Adapted from sundaysandseasons.com.

Copyright © 2021 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

Bible references – New Revised Standard Version.

Hymn references - for the sole purpose of worship song and are not to be used for profitable means. All included in

this service are presented here with permission under one or more of the following licenses:

Augsburg Fortress Hymns License #SAS027764, exp. 9/30/2022

OneLicence # A-701054, exp. 7/2/2022

CCLI License # 2911964, exp. 10/31/2022

Others, Public Domain.