Welcome to the first week of advent and a frosty cold December. This is the week where church families gather to light the purple hope candle. The lighting is special for those that bare witness to this act in the service, as the light that burns from the newly lit wick, symbolizes hope within the spiritual journey. Hope is a candle in our journey.
The Christmas season offers joy to many who wait for December 25th to arrive, but this season also brings sadness. Souls are lost in the darkness, families grieve for members that will not dine at the dinner table, and some don’t have a home where children will find a gift under the tree. The days are shorter, the night lingers, and the sun disappears behind the horizon far too soon. Hope is a candle I have carried in my journey, even when the light burned low.
There are moments in our lives when we have no choice but to walk in the night. Day begets night, night begets day, and we are helpless to change this repetitive ebb and flow. We love the day for its obvious light, and often fear the night for the monsters that might be lurking. We understand that movement within this black velvet space can overwhelm to such an extent that we hide, curl up, and perhaps forget to experience life. I walk into the night and into the black looking for the light, for I know there is a beacon of hope to be found when you have the courage to look. In my life I have been lost in darkness, and have faced loss. Loss helps me to appreciate the life I live and breathe, for those that have past before me can experience life’s gifts no more.
After the sunset on a warm winter evening, I took our Yorkshire-Terrier-cross named Bella, for an evening walk in the neighbourhood. Bella loves to walk and is not concerned with the lack of light or even the weather. She enjoys a good walk! As we walked, I stopped to Instagram tiny twinkle lights on a bush. In the daylight, the branches would appear barren with the leaves missing, but in the darkness, the tiny lights reflect off the branches with promise, and I find light in the darkness.
I stop to gaze at a Snowman who shivers from the cold. I recall Frosty-the-Snowman from my childhood and remember the television specials that gave me joy. I experienced sorrow during my childhood, but during this walk as an adult, I feel joy as laughter ripples from my lips into the night.
Further around the corner, I gaze in awe at three reindeers clustered in a circle, lit by two spotlights. “Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm and all is bright?” As Bella pulls on her leash, and beckons me to follow, I welcome the peace in the silent scene, and find hope in the stillness. “Be still and know,” that there is a hope candle hidden in the dark, but sometimes we need to journey to discover the flame.
I wonder what my neighbours believe when they decorate their homes each season? Do they know that the Christmas lights, or created scenes bring joy? Do they know there is hope found in the light they share?
As I drive my vehicle into the darkness, I like to go past the Christmas Trees at the mall, just to see the light flicker, cascade, and fall into the darkness. It’s beautiful. I often want to stop my car, forget about the mall and spread my arms beneath their beautiful light. Why do I always drive past? What keeps many from stopping, and standing within the light that is waiting?
This light makes me wish that Christmas occurred all year long, so there would always be a light burning in the darkness. My house will be lit tonight. It’s a small gesture, but as people walk or drive past, I hope they see my candle in the darkness.
Light brings hope, and hope is a candle in our journey.