I light candles every day now.
When I was standing in the party store looking for inspiration for Advent a few weeks ago, I had a hunch that lighting a candle every day, not just Sundays, would be a way for me to bring a new edge to the ancient tradition of this season.
But each day as I stand with lighter in hand and bring fire to wick over and over – a new candle added every day – I marvel at the little amount of time it takes to light the world by the work of my hand.
Some days, I light only one day’s candle, short on time and only a few minutes to sit with the dancing shadows. One candle in a dark room shines hope all around. But on the days when I have time to light all of the candles, the glow is transcendent, and the light spilling into the next room gives me courage.
The wax is nearly gone in the candles from the early days of waiting, the wicks laying flat, the flames growing dim. I actually brought in a replacement candle for the first Sunday’s purple holder, and week two may also need a back up.
The light in my soul has dimmed a bit since that first Sunday,too. These weeks and days just never quite go as planned, and I spend a least part of every Advent discouraged and disappointed. This year I have worried too much and worshiped too little. And the light that casts shadows from inside me nearly stopped dancing this weekend.
But though the wick droops sideways, the eternal Light keeps a steady flame burning down in the deep parts of me. I will not be snuffed out though I waver.
“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”
Tonight, I laid flame to 25 wicks – just three days left of longing – and the soft, yellow light reaches far and deep, and as I write, I just keep saying to myself, “Glory.”
“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. . . We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1
I light candles every day now, and every day, the true Light shines on me. And I dance in the shadows.