The Longest Night of the Year

Monday, December 23, 2013
December 21 is the shortest day of the year, and it would follow that its night is the longest. But it was longer than ever this year, because we were without electricity for most of it.

A prolonged bout of freezing rain that began on Saturday morning threatened to wreak havoc in Toronto and the surrounding area. And indeed, we woke up on the morning of December 22 to a very cold house. When I went outside to salt the steps, I made a detour for the car radio, and heard that over 250,000 people in the city were without heat and warmth, and we were four of them.

Our family was scheduled to light the Advent candle in church yesterday, and we had a huddled conference about whether we should try to drive on the icy streets. I think it appealed to the pioneer spirit in all of us and, with Andrew behind the wheel, we set off, not even knowing whether there'd be a service.

When we arrived, the building was in darkness, but the sanctuary was full of light, thanks to our lovely stained glass windows. The decision was made to go ahead with the service for whatever numbers showed up. And it was very much an improvised affair. My youngest daughter and her friends, who sing in the Youth Choir, were asked to help out the three Junior Choir members who showed up. She also gamely took on one of the parts in the bell choir, never having played in the bell choir before. The numbers were small and the church was cold (as the mother of a performer, I attended both services), but the love and joy that were generated filled the building with a different kind of warmth.

(We have been very lucky. Our power came back on at about 3:00 this morning, and our house is starting to feel livable again. According to news reports, it may be Christmas day or later until power is fully restored in Toronto.)

I wanted to share our Advent reading with you, because it seemed particularly fitting for a city that is struggling with darkness:

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
We are easily distracted by the darkness of isolation and fear.
We light this candle as a symbol of Love.
Source of light, shine in our lives and in your world with your everlasting love."

Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas, and may you receive whatever kind of light you need most.

26 comments:

kumars kitchen said...

A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY!! :-)

Natalie Aguirre said...

So glad the power came back on for you. Happy Holidays!

Angie Schneider said...

Looks so cooooooooooold. Again we won't have a snowy Christmas.
Have a wonderful holiday season, Beth!

Jemi Fraser said...

So glad you have your power back! I was worried about you when I saw the news. Sounds like a lot are getting power back throughout the day, but it's so scary to be without power in this cold! It's almost incongruous how beautiful the ice makes everything when it's so thick - the trees belong in fairy tales. Take care and stay warm!

Kitchen Riffs said...

So glad your power is back on! And that's a church service I'll bet you'll never forget. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.

Daniela Grimburg said...

Thank you Beth for sharing these special Advent impressions with us.
Wonderful reading and truly poetic pictures.
Merry Christmas to you and your family , have a wonderful Holiday season!

Gloria Baker said...

Merry Christmas Beth to you and your family! xx

amy (fearless homemaker) said...

I'm so glad your power is back on, and the church services sound lovely despite the chilliness. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Medeia Sharif said...

I haven't experienced that kind of cold in ages. The pictures are wonderful, especially the last one. Happy holidays.

Belinda said...

What an adventure - those electricity-free nights kinda brings it all back - glad you're back and warm!

Deb said...

I have been hearing all about the weather back home...love your story and glad you are warm again....wish I could transport some of the tropical heat here back to all the folks still without there! Merry Christmas to you and your family Beth from the land down under! :)

Guru Uru said...

It sounds almost magical in a way, fitting for that night - though I am so glad you are warm once more!
Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays!
CCU

vanillasugarblog said...

You know I suffer (a little bit from SAD), so when the winter solstice comes around I get very excited as the days finally (but slowly) start to get longer.
I miss the sun, I love the sun, and yes, I'm already counting how many till spring.
So far we've had nothing but rain or snow here on cape cod; it's depressing. I try to get to the beach as much as possible to just be outside and get some light.
Beth I wish you a very merry christmas, thank you for always leaving such nice comments on my blog.
xoxo!

Monet said...

I loved hearing about how much warmth and love was found. Such a beautiful contrast to the cold outside! Thank you for sharing Beth! Merry Christmas, sweet friend!

Elzbieta Hester said...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! :) ela

Julia said...

Merry Christmas, Beth, and Happy New Year! Having the longest night of the year (made even longer by having no electricity) does not seem that bad when there is so much beauty around! You live in a beautiful place.

yummychunklet said...

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Liz Berg said...

Sounds like a magical service...but I'm hoping power is restored to everyone by now. Merry, merry Christmas, Beth! xo

Joanne said...

Oh my!! I hope you guys are staying warm and had a lovely Christmas!

Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl said...

Hope you are having a great holiday season, staying warm and enjoying each others time! Big hugs and well wishes!

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Beautiful post, thanks so much for sharing! So glad that the service went on - and that you got your power back!

Kathy said...

Lovely post, Beth! Thanks for sharing. So glad that the power came back on that night. I feel so bad for all those people who had no power for several days in this terrible cold. Wishing you and your family a Blessed, and Happy New Year!

grace said...

even when the electricity is down for only an hour or so, i'm miserable--i have an unhealthy addiction. :)
have a wonderful new year!

Valerie Gamine said...

Happy (belated) Christmas, Beth! Sorry I missed this post...we also lost power during the same storm system but luckily it was only for a few hours. Ice storms are beautiful-deadly entities. I'm happy you and your family made it through. :)

Have a wonderful New Year, Beth!! xo

lisa is cooking said...

So glad your power wasn't out any longer than it was. The advent service sounds lovely despite the cold. Happy New Year to you!

I Wilkerson said...

I think you'll remember this more than if nothing had happened. A belated Merry Christmas!

Post a Comment