++Update: YouTube has blocked the video I used in this post due to copyright restrictions. Now, you’ll have to watch the episode!++
Tonight, our church hosted a Service of the Longest Night. I’ve repeatedly said that I anticipate this service more than the other Christmas time services. Yes, even candlelight worship. Don’t get me wrong. I love candlelight and sharing in Communion as we praise God for the gift of Jesus. From time to time I see the faces of nursing home residents in my mind. For several years, we hosted a Christmas Eve service at a local nursing home. As I have lit the Christ candle and walked the Light down the center aisle as the residents watched, joy filled their faces. I love that.
But the Longest Night service reminds me of our true need. We….I need healing, hope and to be reminded that the Light of Christ always shines through our darkest moments. Salvation. Shalom.
And God has given us the Light to shine into the lives of others.
When we got home from the Longest Night service, I recalled an episode of Call the Midwife on Netflix. Gloria began watching Call the Midwife last year. I eavesdropped from time to time as I was reading or writing. I admit that I gradually became a fan of the series. And I have no problem telling you how powerful I think the following scene is.
I recommend you watch the entire 2012 Christmas episode. There’s more to the story and you would appreciate how difficult it had been for the caretakers to find themselves at the home of the woman. But just by watching you can use your imagination when you see the semi-displeased look of the nurse. You can hear the attitude and rejection in the woman’s voice. At one point the old woman took a good swing at the nun.
Still, the caretakers pursued.
They pursued someone others had given up on or would just have forgotten otherwise. There is so much beauty in these brief 3 minutes.
- Again, they are attempting to care for the woman even after she has displayed less than friendly behavior toward them.
- Notice the struggle of the nurse. What else would she rather be doing at that moment.
- Hear the compassion of the nun as she realizes the nature of the woman’s pain.
- Someone more equipped to help the woman, a podiatrist, would be of service to the woman later. But, for now, they had care to give her.
- Shame. The woman looks away at her shame.
- The first time I watched this, I teared up as O Come, O Come Emmanuel played. That was Incarnational ministry.
- The woman is able to look into the eyes of those who are caring for her. Shame no more.
That is what Emmanuel means. That God is with us. And when you and I share God’s care with the world, especially to those the world would rather forget, we are bringing the Light to the world. It’s like Christmas has come again.
And that is a very, merry Christmas!