The annual tree lighting ceremony on the Town Hall lawn is simple and reverent.
Also brief, personal and communal.
It will start Thursday at 5 p.m. by the tall pine and end after 15 minutes, says organizer Susan Rogers.
Two hundred people or more will listen to brief remarks and an invocation.
The crowd will light hand-held candles. Then the tree's green, blue and white lights will shine in the darkness.
Hospice of the North Shore & Greater Boston hosts the Tree of Lights ceremony.
The lighting brings together families who know loss. All are invited. Their loss could be recent or not, a family member, a friend, a pet.
"The illuminated tree, with each light representing a loved one, is a visible reminder that warm and happy memories bring a joy that penetrates the darkness of grief," Susan Rogers said.
Right after the ceremony a community reception will be held across the street at the First Church of Swampscott with viewing of the Honor Roll book.
In addition the Hospice's Center for Grief and Healing is offering “Coping with the Holidays after a Loss” workshops on the evening of the Tree of Lights ceremony. The workshop is free, though RSVPs are requested (978/774-5100).
This is the 11th Tree of Lights ceremony in Swampscott. For information about the ceremony or to sponsor a light visit www.hns.org/treeoflights
Ceremomies will also be held in Danvers, Gloucester and Wellesley.