The Longest Night at First United Methodist Church in Surgoinsville is a quiet service offered to all those who seek peace during troubling times. It begins at 7 p.m., Dec. 21.
“December 21, the winter solstice, is the shortest day of the year, which means that it is also the longest night of the year,” explains Ruth. “For many, the winter solstice feels heavy, and for many, the Christmas season feels heavy. People all around us are celebrating, but many of us feel the darkness of the long nights of winter in our souls. We may feel alone and alienated.”
The quiet service includes moments of prayer, reflection and traditional Advent and Christmas music. “The Christmas season centers on the celebration of Christ’s birth, but it can also be a reminder of loss and loneliness,” Ruth continues.
“Difficult times in life, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job or home, and other situations can make it hard for us to shake off the darkness. Such losses make the usual Christmas festivities difficult for many of us.” Ruth wants to make sure that all who are experiencing loss and heartbreak know there is a place where they can come and just be surrounded by love and peace.
Those going through these unexplainable times of hurting definitely may feel they are themselves going through the longest days and nights of their lives. However, even though it may seem the darkest in that moment, on the other side can be found hope and new horizons.
“The winter solstice is also a turning point. After tonight, the nights begin to get shorter and the days get longer. More light comes into our lives,” Ruth said. “This service is designed to be a time for people to feel the presence and love of God and the love of the people around them. It is a time to be honest. It is a safe place to just feel what you feel. This service is designed with times of quiet and times of instrumental music and low-key opportunities to participate by lighting candles.”
Everyone is welcome and there is no dress code.
For anyone needing extra comfort and peace during your longest hours, please feel free to join Rev. Ruth and First United Methodist Church at 621 Old Stage Road, Surgoinsville, TN, 37873. You can also find information and an event invitation on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FUMCSurgoinsville.