Candles light the darkness in winter. Their glow can warm your spirit even when it is cold outside. We sing “Silent Night” on Christmas Eve as we raise the lighted candles at the close of worship. There is a lump in our throat and our eyes mist.
In our home we have continued the tradition of the Advent wreath. Each of the four Sundays before Christmas begins a week of Advent. It is a time of preparation and waiting. A candle is lit each week until all four are glowing when on Christmas morning, the fifth candle in the center is lit. The Advent candles represent hope, peace, love, and joy. Devoting some time to reading and reflection on these themes is meaningful. Today the wait for Christmas is complete.
It really has been a challenge to keep faith and hope and joy alive this year, right? There is no need to line up the litany of struggles we have endured. And for those who have an empty space at their table or around the tree there may seem to be no hope, no peace, no joy. Yet there is love. Most certainly love. That is the reason we ache for those who have died. The reason we continue to keep the glimmer of hope and faith and joy alive is because we love – not only those not with us – but also those who are by our side.
May your Christmas be a celebration of love – and hope, peace, and joy!