During the last three Advent seasons, I have led a “Blue Christmas” service. Also called “The Longest Night” service, it is a contemplative, reflective service meant to bring a space of quiet worship into the frantic Advent season.
This year we repeated one of our most asked-for activities, a labyrinth made of Christmas lights. In the softly-lit room, with background music playing, it became an ethereal, other-worldly moment. One participant described it as the “space of beauty and peace” that was needed in the midst of a job transition, moving, and medical challenges.
The instructions are simple as long as you understand basic geometry. Here is a set of complete directions.
1. locate center of room
2. Around center make 4 concentric circles 3′ apart. (with radii of 3′, then 6′, then 9′, then 12′)
3. Measure a string which, when relaxed and not under tension, measures 12′. Secure it to the center point. Use pieces of tape or knots to mark 3′ intervals along the string. (We used yarn)
4. Using the string as a radius, place pieces of tape on the ground every few feet along the circumferences of the circles, as marked out by the pieces of tape on the string-radius
5. Goal: Divide the circle into three equal sections. Steps: locate the desired entrance point to the labyrinth (point A). Locate the point opposite it on the circle (point B), aka the other end of the diameter from point A. Affix one end of the radius to point B. Lay out the radius-string and swing it around, marking the two places where it hits the circumference (C and D). This will roughly divide the circle into thirds.
6. Next, the fun part: laying out the lights. Mark the left edge of the entrance to the labyrinth by measuring 4.5′ to the left of A, creating point E. Plug in the lights and roll out the lights from point E towards the circumference of circle 2, and along the circumference clockwise until the lights intersect line DF (the radius marking the third at pt D). Double back the lights along their path until it gets to point E. Then follow the circumference of circle 4 clockwise, until you reach point C on the circumference. Follow line CF until it intersects circle 2. Follow circle 2 counterclockwise until you are 3′ (aka the pathway’s breadth away from line CD). Double back to follow circle 2 clockwise until you come to a point 3′ away from AF. (Measure this by measuring a 3′ line perpendicular to AF or DF, with one end on the radius and the other on the circumference of circle 2).
7. Remember to tape down your lights as you go! Continue to follow the path of the labyrinth in this manner. We wouldn’t want to deprive you of the joy of discovery!