Tonight in the Northern Hemisphere is the longest night of the year, winter solstice.
A day of significance for pagan traditions, it’s also one of those rare days when we become aware of our planet’s place in the universe and appreciate the physics and astronomy that help us understand it.
On another hand, tonight also marks the night that many homeless service providers and faith communities involved in homeless services hold vigils and recognition for those who have passed away over the past year, a Homeless Persons Memorial Day. (This is one in St. Louis.) For homeless people, this night may not be the coldest, (at least not at this latitude), but it is the longest night that they’re “out there,” a long hallway of isolation when people are not normally outside.
My agency holds a memorial service in October for our folks who have passed away, and both then and tonight, I’m reminded of the dignity and worth of each human person. For many of the people being recognized at these services, they have no other family or contacts that would mourn their passing, or even recognize their passing, and all human beings deserve that.