1I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
2I declare that your steadfast love is established forever; your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.
3You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to my servant David:
4‘I will establish your descendants forever, and build your throne for all generations.’” Psalm 89:1-4
Nothing reminds me more of Advent than the lighting of candles. Growing up we always had an Advent wreath with candles on our dining room table. There was no other time during the year that we had candles on our table, so this was special. Not only did we have the candles on our table, but we lit them every night when we said our prayer before dinner. “Bless us O Lord and these thy gifts….” My parents were children during the Great Depression so actually lighting those candles was a symbol of the importance of the tradition to them – “spending down” those candles was a big deal. I also vividly remember lighting candles at the midnight mass service. As a small child, to be in charge of your own burning candle left an impression.
I brought the advent wreath to our home after my parents passed away. I put it up on occasion as a decoration, along with the tiny wooden creche scene that sat in the middle, but I have to admit I never lit the candles (three purple and one pink) that I bought a few years ago. That is until this year. This year I wanted to have that comforting glow and warmth that the wreath and candles evoke. It conjures up memories from past years, sitting at our dinner table together, and it brings joy to share in the lighting during our virtual church services this year. I have the wreath in a place where there is little to disturb the flame and it is unwavering, reminding me of the love given, past and present, and the hope that surrounds us, if we only look for it.
Our family will especially miss the candlelit church surrounded by our Bay Shore Lutheran Church family and all the beautiful voices we hear during the Christmas Eve service. We will light our own candles at home to remind us of the goodness around us, we will cherish all of the blessings and gifts we have and we will wait with hope until we can be together again.