If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me, and the light around me turn to night,” darkness is not dark to you, O Lord; the night is as bright as the day; darkness and light to you are both alike. (psalm 139)
And yet we stumble, O Lord. The night is long, morning seems far off. Though you can see, we cannot. And yet into our uncertainty, into our longing, into our apathy, into our desperation, you come again, taking on flesh to share our life, raising us to oneness with you.
As the light slowly returns to our part of the earth, we pray too for your light to shine gently, bringing us into the glory of your day. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” We yearn for this light, for life abundant and for joy to come in the morning.
Even as we await the lengthening of days, we remember those for whom the days begin to shorten. For those celebrating your incarnation at the height of summer, soon to slide toward winter’s chill. For those whose joy will be short-lived, as loneliness returns after the parties and presents are cleared away. For those whose gaze has turned toward light eternal, and for those who will walk in the valley of the shadow of death.
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; all for your love’s sake.
We pray in the name of the One whose cries in the manger echo our own, even Jesus Christ our Lord. amen.
Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL. Last paragraph (“keep watch…”) from the Book of Common Prayer.