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Longest Night

Today, December 21, is winter solstice. Today is the day with the fewest hours of sunlight. Tonight is the night with most hours of darkness. Winter begins tonight, at 10:27PM (EST).

It is tempting to narrate solstice in a binary way: day or night, light or dark. Thinking of solstice this way reminds me of one of my favorite Sandra Boynton books, Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs!  It’s a book of opposites: “Dinosaurs HAPPY and dinosaurs SAD. Dinosaurs GOOD and dinosaurs BAD. Dinosaurs BIG and dinosaurs TINY. Dinosaurs SMOOTH and dinosaurs SPINY…”[i] It’s one of children’s board books I had memorized back in the day. And it’s one of those children’s board books that invites further reflection as we discover that very few, if any, things or beings “fit” in easy binary systems.

All of Boynton’s opposites – as well as day and night, light and dark – are continua…day flows into dusk which flows into night which flows into dawn which flows into day which flows….

Leaning into these continua provides an opportunity to acknowledge the complexity of time. Leaning into these continua creates a space in which to consider daily, seasonal, and life rhythms.  Leaning into these continua and noticing the rhythm of twilight might coax us to wonder: how might twilight – which holds us two times every day, creating two periods of sacred blurriness – how might this reality shape how we experience the world, our relationships, and our individual lives?

Tonight we lean into the fullness of winter solstice. Whether or not you choose to join us for our Longest Night worship experience at 7pm this evening in the sanctuary, I invite you to set aside a few minutes to be still.

  • Where are you in this continua of dusk-night-dawn-day-dusk…?

  • What does it feel like to exist in a continua of light-twilight-dark-twilight-light-twilight…?

  • What or who has helped you navigate or experience or survive this continua?

  • How can we – as a community of people and as disciples of the Way – support one another when these continua are less about days and seasons and more about life rhythms: love and loss, death and birth, steadfast and wavering, desolate and held?

Peace to you and yours,



[i] Boynton, Sandra. Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs!: A Book of Opposites. Workman Publishing Company; October, 1993.



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