“Happy Solstice. Even the darkest night awakens in sunshine.” ~ Unknown
I went church hopping with Stacy Yelton. I love church hopping at Christmas. We started at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church on Main Street. Their Nine Lessons and Carols kicked off at five, just before sunset. As I was about to sit down something caught my attention. Waving at me from the other end of the pew were long-time friends Tim and Shella Franklin, and Shella’s sister, Patty. As Shella said later, it was like seeing family. It was their first time at Good Shepherd, and only my second. It’s a gorgeous sanctuary, and it was so nice to share that time and space with people I love.
Even more beautiful is Tim and Shella’s son, Ethan, whom I hadn’t seen since he was seven years old. He’s a senior in high school now, and has already been accepted into college. He’s as sweet as his parents, of course. Tim is just four days older than me. We celebrate our 50th in two weeks. We’ve known each other for all that time. It’s really something to know people your whole life like that.
First Presbyterian Church downtown offers The Longest Night service on Solstice, which happened to be tonight. It started at seven which gave us time to drive from Good Shepherd. The last time Stacy and I went church hopping like this we did Nine Lessons and Carols at First Presbyterian then ran across Market Street to Christ Church Cathedral for their Nine Lessons and Carols. That was the night Bill Meck began his reading with “Good Evening,” as if he was still on TV. That made it memorable, I’ll give him that.
First Presbyterian has become very important to me. This year, I won’t get to attend Christmas Eve services for the first time in a decade, so attending The Longest Night service helped make up for that. It’s also a gorgeous sanctuary, and now, I feel like Christmas has actually started. The Longest Night this year has offered the greatest blessings possible.