Candles. I love the way they look so warm, and they are so simple. I love the way they flicker with a little life of their own and soften the faces of those gathered around. I love the way those little flames get our attention. Candles are used in many traditions as part of rituals and remembrances. Somehow lighting a candle set this moment apart from the next moment, creating a space, setting aside a time for something.
So, we light candles for Advent. And we light candles for Chanukah. We sometimes have a whole table filled with little, flickering flames...a sea of remembrance...remembering hope, peace, joy, love...remembering deliverance and redemption...remembering that we are here, alive, waiting...anticipating our own redemption.
Take a moment when you light your first Advent candle tomorrow to just stop. Just be. Just wait. Breathe. Listen. Take in the faces around you. Be present. We are setting aside this season, creating sacred space, consecrating these coming nights. The season of Hope begins.
My personal reflection on Hope, as I grieve for my mother this Advent season, can be found here: Hope That Burns Us.