If you ask a child, December might be named as the longest month of the year. As a child, my sisters and I would get very excited as Christmas came closer and closer. We had the Advent calendar my mother had made for us, so we could keep count of those endless days. And when we got to that last week before Christmas, I am sure Mother and Daddy despaired of ever getting us quieted down so we could get to bed. My mother was a very creative person. I don’t remember when it started, my earliest memories always included it. Mother designed the 7 Candles of Christmas. Starting on Dec. 19, we would come together as a family just a little before our regular bedtime. There were 7 candles in a holder that Daddy made for us. The first evening we would light the candle of the Prophecy. We read scripture that talked of the coming of the Messiah. Read from a lovely story book about all these steps through Advent, sing a Christmas carol, light the 1st candle, say our prayers, and we were quiet and ready to go to bed. The second night the candle was for the Announcement – when Joseph and Mary each learned of the event that would change the world. Read the scripture and the story, sing, light our 2 candles, say our prayers and go to bed. Third night – the candle was for Christmases Long Ago, and we would read stories of Christmases long before current days, light 3 candles, say prayers and off to bed. The 4th candle represented Christmas in Other Lands. We read stories from missionaries about their Christmas celebrations, sing a carol, light 4 candles, prayers and bedtime. Then it was time to go back to the Bible. The 5th candle was for the Magi, those Wise Men, and the journey they had to make to finally find the Christ Child. Story, scripture, light 5 candles, prayers and bedtime. We were always ready for bed after than quiet family time.
On Christmas Eve, the day was very busy. Mother had been baking with “help” from her 3 little girls, and we took all those baked goodies to give to family and friends late in the afternoon. When we arrived back at home, Mother would have some good soup on the stove for our supper. Our 6th candle was for the shepherds on the hillsides where the angel choirs sang the good news just for them. 6 candles shining in the dimly-lit room, along with the lights on the Christmas tree, several carols to sing. It wasn’t quite as easy to go to bed that night – after all it was Christmas Eve. Christmas morning, we opened our gifts, and then spent the day with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. On Christmas night, we gathered again to light the 7th candle – this one for our Christmas that day. We shared our own thoughts about the day, gifts given or received, the fun things and the crazy laughable moments that made each Christmas unique. But those candles taught us the importance and joy of Christmas, the peace on earth that was possible. I am forever grateful for those 7 candles and how they continue to impact my thoughts and meditations throughout Advent and the celebration of the birth of God’s son. It is my prayer that each one of you will also shine some light with your own candles giving to all the everlasting light in the world of darkness.
Blessings and joy,