On The Longest Night of the Year

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.

7 thoughts on “On The Longest Night of the Year

  1. A sombre note. It is too easy to forget, or to ignore, what is happening out there where the nights are long and the winters are cold. So please add my personal wishes, and my thoughts to all who would be merry this Christmas, but have so little to be merry about.

    • I agree. Your comment about people who have “so little to be merry about,” reminds me of something; perhaps I should write about it. My agency has a Christmas giveaway for all of our clients, and since my folks are usually homeless and can’t put “things” anywhere, we just give them gift cards.
      Last week, I was handing a few out, and I would preface it by saying, “So and so, Santa came last night.” Their faces light up like nothing else. “He did!?” they ask with glee.
      40 and 50 year old men, doing little dances in the chair next to my desk when they look at the gift cards. So sweet.

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