12: December ~ Blessing of Night

 

As the daylight hours give way during the month of December, the night calls our attention. Darkness invites us into its mystery, to gaze into its star-filled sky with wonder.

As we watch and wait for the Light during the season of Advent, the darkness of a particular night can be a powerful setting for prayer.

Wait for an evening when the sky is clear and the wind is still; gather family and friends and walk outdoors. Find a place where the view of the night sky is unobstructed. Invite everyone to join in this Blessing of Night.

 

Opening Prayer

Lord of Peaceful Night, in your creative wisdom you created light to rule the day and darkness to rule the night. It is the darkness of night that draws our need for the virtues of hope and trust: Remind us to delight in the comfort of rest and solitude. Let the night encircle us and instruct us to seek more deeply your wisdom and peace. May Your Hand rest upon us. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

 

Song of Praise: Verses from Psalm 139

LORD, you have probed me, you know me:

You know when I sit and stand;

you understand my thoughts from afar.

You sift through my travels and my rest;

with all my ways you are familiar.

Response: Blessed are those who have not seen yet believe.

 

Where can I go from your spirit?

From your presence, where can I flee?

If I ascend to the heavens, you are there;

if I lie down in the nether world, there you are.

Response: Blessed are those who have not seen yet believe.

 

If I say, “Surely darkness shall hide me,

and night shall be my light”—

Darkness is not dark for you,

and night shines as the day.

Darkness and light are but one.

Response: Blessed are those who have not seen yet believe.

 

How precious to me are your designs, O God;

how vast the sum of them!

Were I to count them, they would outnumber the sands;

when I complete them, still you are with me.

Response: Blessed are those who have not seen yet believe.

 

Selective Readings from Scripture

Psalms 148:3-6

Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light!

Praise Him, highest heavens, And the waters that are above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the LORD,

For He commanded and they were created.

 

Isaiah 40:26

Lift up your eyes on high

And see who has created these stars,

The One who leads forth their host by number,

He calls them all by name.

Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,

Not one of them is missing.

 

Job 38:31-33

“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth a constellation in its season, and guide the Bear with her satellites? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens, or fix their rule over the earth?”

 

Matthew 2:9-10

After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

 

2 Peter 1:19

So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

 

Silent Reflection, or invite sharing of thoughts

 

Closing Blessing

God of wonder and hope, we thank you for your everlasting presence. Though we feel lonely and estranged at times, never are we abandoned by You.

May the night always be a reminder to us to see your face. You who govern the night, inspire in us a faith like our ancestors of old, a faith that casts our needless fear and crippling despair.

We ask you to bless this night. May it increase our longing for the fullness of your kingdom, more bountiful than all the stars that cover the sky.

Awed by the immensity of night, may we live as vigilant pilgrims, always ready to walk when you call us home. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.