Longest night .... Here comes the sun ... Here comes the Son.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Everything has its time.
There is a balance to life, a rhythm, even in the extremes.
We live with and within the contrasts.
We know there is sorrow and distress.
We know there is gladness and joy.
Within the arc of our time to be born and our time to die each one of us will experience most everything the writer of Ecclesiastes uses as illustration in this text.
And typically we manage, we deal with what life brings our way. We use the resources we have, we practice the spiritual disciplines that not only strengthen our faith but also lead to recovery, to healing, to wholeness.
What makes that healing even more difficult this time of year is that how we might be feeling on the inside doesn't align with what is happening all around us.
If we are sad or angry, hurt or grieving then the hustle and bustle of Christmas, especially the culture of Christmas, only amplifies that pain. Even the church - where schedules are busy with extra worship services, programs, and service opportunities - can miss opportunities to create healing space.
So take a moment. Pause. Breathe deeply. And just be.
If you are feeling light of heart and full of Christmas cheer then feel that fully and be glad.
If you are feeling broken and lost and alone then let yourself feel that fully as well. Find a safe place where your pain will not be discounted, will not be ignored, will not be minimized for its impact on your life.
On this winter solstice, this longest night of the year, let's wait together, acknowledging the darkness, and watching for that long awaited light on the horizon.
Here comes the sun.
Here comes the Son.
Thanks be to God.