One week ago on Christmas Eve and standing at the door to wish folks a “Merry Christmas” upon their departure from our service, I noticed several members of Fred and Joan Flowers’ family departing the service still holding their candles from the candlelighting and the flames on the candles were still aglow! Joan made a comment as she walked by that made me wonder about what they were up to. So, I asked her about it this week.
“The Candle Light Service was and is the best part of the holidays for our family,” Joan explained. “We gather thirty minutes before the service to hear Papa Fred read the Christmas story and pray and then rush to get to Church on time. Standing together singing, hearing our Pastor tell again the Christmas Story, seeing the packed Church so beautifully decorated and then turning out the lights and seeing the Christ Candle light passed from person to person brings such joy.”
On one of those Christmas Eve’s years ago, a new family tradition began. Joan recalls, “I do not remember which child pulled on my coat and asked could we take the candle home to light our candles but we did, and it has been a tradition over the years to see who can make it home with fire to light our candles. Taking the light of the Christ Candle home extends the celebration for our family. And, thankfully, there have been no mishaps on the way to the house over the years!”
That is such a great tradition and a wonderful image for the dawning of a New Year! Our celebration of Advent has culiminated in the lighting of the Christ Candle as our remembrance of the birth of Jesus, the Incarnation, when God himself chose to become flesh and dwell among us! He continues to live today as we follow him into his kingdom expectations on this earth to which he came, for which he died, and to which he extends the depths of his love through the ever-presence of the Holy Spirit for all we face!
So for 2017, having gathered around the Christ Candle in our Sanctuary, let us now go into the New Year as bearers of the Light of the World within in our homes, schools, offices, plants, relationships and community! Be blessed by God’s grace for every step of the way! Amen!