Longest Night - Blue Christmas Service

The service is posted in a series of videos so we could fit in some songs... The liturgy is printed below

I will Light Candles this Christmas

- by Howard Thurman

I will light Candles this Christmas;

Candles of joy despite all sadness,

Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,

Candles of courage for fears ever present,

Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,

Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,

Candles of love to inspire all my living,

Candles that will burn all the year long.


Prelude - For Everyone Born

CALL TO WORSHIP

Jesus Christ is the Light of the world, The light no darkness can overcome.

Stay with us, Lord, for it is evening, and the day is almost over.

Let your light scatter the darkness, and illumine your church.

The Spirit and the church cry out: Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

All those who await his appearance pray: Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

The whole creation pleads: Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

Enlighten our darkness by the light of your Christ; may his Word be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path;

for you are merciful, and you love your whole creation, and we, your creatures, glorify you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

Song “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” ELW #257

LITANY OF LAMENT AND PRAISE (Based on Psalm 22 and Psalm 23)

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Why are you so far from helping me, so far from the words of my groaning?

O my God, I cry by day but you do not answer,

and by night, but I find no rest.

In you, our ancestors trusted. They trusted and you delivered them.

It was you who brought me from the womb,

you who kept me safe on my mother's breast.

Since my mother bore me, you have been my God.

Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.

God, you do not despise the affliction of the afflicted.

When I cry to you, oh God, you hear me.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

SCRIPTURE READINGS AND REFLECTION

Isaiah 40

A period of reflection

Psalm 139

A period of reflection

Matthew 11

A period of reflection

Song LUTHER COLLEGE “Away in a Manger” ELW #278

Litany of Remembrance and Candle Lighting

The first candle is lighted.

We light this first candle to remember those whom we have loved and lost.

We pause to remember their faces, their voices, their bodies.

We embrace and give thanks for the memories that bind them to us in this season of expectation, when all Creation waits for the Light.

We remember them with love. May God's eternal love surround them.

A period of silent reflection

The second candle is lighted.

We light this second candle to remember the pain of loss: loss of relationships, loss of trust, loss of jobs, loss of health, loss of faith, the loss of joy. We acknowledge and embrace the pain of the past, O God, and we offer it to You, asking that into our wounded hearts and open hands, You will place the gift of peace, the gift of shalom.

We remember that through You all things are possible.

Refresh, restore, renew us, O God, and lead us into Your future.

A period of silent reflection

The third candle is lighted.

We light this third candle to remember ourselves this Christmas time. We pause and remember the past weeks, months, and for some of us years, that have been heavy with our burdens. We accept and lay before you, God, the sharpness of memory, the sadness and grief, the hurt and fear, the anger and pain. We accept and lay before you the ways we feel we have fallen short, and the times we have spent blaming ourselves, and you, for all that we have suffered. We accept and lay before you the time we have walked alone, in darkness; and in knowledge of our own mortality.

We remember that though we have journeyed far, and that, while lost, we may have turned away from the light, the light itself has not failed.

We remember that though winter be upon us and though the night be dark,

Your dawn will come, and dawn defeats the darkness.

A period of silent reflection

The fourth candle is lighted.

We light this fourth candle to remember faith, the gift of light and hope that God provides us in the Christ Child at Christmas, which began in abandonment, insecurity, and humbleness, in a poor stable. We remember that the loving God who came to share this life with us promises us comfort and peace.

We remember the One who shares our burdens, who shows us the way to the Light, and who journeys with us into all our tomorrows.

A period of silent reflection

Lighting of Candles: You are invited to light a candle. It’s light may represent your burdens, griefs, sorrows, all those things that make Christmas a “blue” time for you. You may speak the name or the event if you wish to do so. You may take some time for prayer.

The Christ candle is lighted.

We light this candle to remember love. In your love, you invite us to pray.

God of wisdom, we come to you this Christmas Season tired, in turmoil, and in pain. As the nights have grown longer, so has darkness grown and wrapped itself around our hearts. In this season of longest night, may the Christ candle serve as a symbol of your undying love. We ask your healing blessings upon all that we carry in our hearts - sorrow we fear may never end, wounds we cannot even put into words. Send your gift of love, Jesus Christ our Lord, to bring healing and life and promise.

We remember your gift of the Christ Child, and give thanks for the promise of life in him, for today, tomorrow and always. Amen

A period of silent reflection

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

God of compassion, you have given us your own Son, Jesus Christ, to be for us the great physician, making the broken whole and overcoming even the darkness of death and despair with new life and hope. We thank you for the One who touched the untouchable, reached out to the dying, and brought healing and wholeness to those who had despaired of mending.

Touch our wounds, relieve our hurts, and restore us to wholeness of life, through this same Lord Jesus Christ. Set our troubled souls free, O Lord, from restlessness and anxiety. Uphold us by your strength. Anchor us upon the rock of your faithfulness. Give us your peace and power and so keep us that in all times of trouble and distress, we may know that you hold us close.

Indeed, you are faithful, O God. You not only give us your word that can be trusted but you also lend us your ear for our comfort. Hear us now as we offer our prayers.

Hear again, gracious God, the names of those people and places we hold dear and now present to you anew.

[Silence]

Grant us, O God, the fullness of your promises. Where we have been weak, grant us your strength; where we have been confused, grant us your guidance; where we have been distraught, grant us your comfort; and in all times and circumstances grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

THE LORDS PRAYER

Blessing

The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord’s face shine on you with grace and mercy.

The Lord look upon you with favor and ☩ give you peace. Amen.

Sending Song “Silent Night” ELW #281

Go in peace, walking always in the light of Christ. Thanks be to God.

Please rest securely in the Peace of Christ.