The First United Methodist Church of Elkin held a Service of Light in Darkness on Wednesday evening, which was the Winter Solstice.
For some people Christmas is anything but joyful and the church wanted to acknowledge those feelings. Specifically for those who have been grieving, lonely or depressed, this service provided a unity of spirit not felt in the traditional activities of Christmas where people often feel forced to appear happy.
Pastor Mark Barden pointed out the meditative spiritual and calming techniques noted in the service bulletin to be used during the several periods of silence throughout the service.
In addition to readings punctuated by stanzas of “In the Bleak Midwinter,” a song created from the poem by English poet Christina Rossetti, candles were lit in recognition of the difficulties faced by many. “Some may have lost loved ones, a job, a relationship with someone dear to them,” reminded Barden. “Others may have experienced divorce, depression or are just not in the spirit. Christmas is for everyone, especially those who are in deep darkness, for on them The Light has shined, too.”
Barden asked the congregation to write prayers and concerns on slips of paper and “give them to God” by placing them on the candlelit altar in the darkened chapel, reminding those suffering, “you’re not alone. God knows your pain. God loves you unconditionally.”
After time spent in solemn meditation and service, the assembled were invited to join Barden at the altar to sing “Silent Night” after which Barden invited everyone for fellowship in the library.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.