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Monday, December 10, 2012

So Many Wicks and Flames...

My daughter has lighted a lot of Advent candles. When she was very young, I learned of the tradition that the youngest child lights the Advent candles. This made sense to me. By that point, our six long years of infertility had passed, and we had been blessed with pregnancy.  We could plan for each child to have his or her turn at the wreath, as the years went by, regardless of how many we were able to have. Of course, things never quite work out as planned, and the other six (or more) never arrived. We were blessed with one, despite our plans to the contrary, and that is enough. Our hearts are full.

That leaves her holding the candle lighter though...every night, of every Advent -- all the way until this, her nineteenth year.

This year, I handed the lighter to Dad. The kid deserves a break.

This got me to thinking about plans and traditions. I have an 18 year old. It's impossible to predict how many more Advent wreath lightings she'll be in our home for. The thought brings tears...

Tears of sorrow...
   Tears of loss...
      Tears of growth...
         Tears of joy...
            Tears of hope and anticipation...

Some day, she may be guiding a little hand wrapped inside of hers, lighting purple candles studding evergreen, and that is good. That is how it is supposed to be. That is why we light Advent candles in the first place -- because new things are coming. Births are expected. We look forward to culminations which will surely come.

As flames flicker atop crisp cotton, we'll be carried away on gentle winds of change to find ourselves in new places -- places we did not expect -- to find that we have arrived exactly where we had been headed all along. Candle lighters will spark and wicks will catch, in an unbroken chain of love and hope until we all return home -- our true home, where we all belong.

And our hearts will be full.

O Come O Come Emmanuel --and we, repeatedly caught unawares and full of untamed joy, -- we will adjust, and rejoice, and be glad for it.

God bless your Advent season.
Pax Christi dear ones,

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  1. Amen, and amen.Thank you for this beautiful pause in the midst of a busy season. Visiting from Be Not Weary for the first time today :)

  2. Thank you Michelle for this heartfelt post. Life is full of passages... As with the advent wreath, we light each candle in anticipation of what comes next. Some 'nexts' bring great joy and some bring tears. I'm so thankful that not one of these 'nexts' is a surprise to Him... God with us.
    I'm a new follower from Mary @ Woman to Woman.

  3. This is sweet and makes me a little tight in the throat :). I did not know of the tradition of the youngest lighting the candles! I always learn something when I visit. Many blessings.


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