Pastoral Prayer: Longest Night

Here’s a pastoral prayer for a Longest Night or Blue Christmas worship service.  It was written by Thom Shuman, and posted on Lectionary Liturgies.

Longest Night
Pastoral Prayer

All around us are the sights and sounds of Christmas, Gentle God:
the laughter of parties, the songs of carolers,
the shouts of children sledding down hills, the music in every store.
But deep within us we carry our pain,
our grief walks with us every step we take,
loneliness is a shawl we drape over our shoulders on empty nights.
So, in this time when every night stretches into eternity,
we come to you, bringing our gifts:
not gold, frankincense and myrrh,
but the grief that is the empty space
in the closet filled with memories,
the loss that is a sore which never heals,
the bitterness that tastes like two-day old coffee.
We have come from different backgrounds,
from different families,
from other faith traditions.
But we have all lived in the far country of despair,
wandered the land of shame,
built our lives in those neighborhoods peopled by empty dreams.
We have stood on the side of every room we have gone into,
hoping against hope that someone would ask us to dance,
but find the wall is our only friend.
In a season when so many people don't have enough hours in a day
to get their lists checked off, their cards mailed,
their presents wrapped, we have all the time in the world:
to remember the loss that has stolen the joy of the season;
to grieve over a job, a dream, a loved one we have lost;
to sit in the shadows of our homes, too weary to turn on the lights;
to wander the streets lit by decorations on all the houses,
but not by the Light of the world.
Our fear of the future, our remembrance of the past;
our pain which is difficult to bear and harder to release;
our emptiness which cannot be filled with platitudes;
our hands which cannot hold the ones we wish to embrace:
all make this a season of long nights.
So, be with us in our loneliness,
in our longing,
in our loss,
in our lives.

All: In Jesus Name, we pray. Amen.

~ written by Thom Shuman, and posted on Lectionary Liturgies.