Today we lit all four advent candles, a complete circle. At each service we had a family group come up and light the candles together, children and teens and parents taking turns, everyone making sure that everyone else had a chance.
We are getting near to Christmas Eve, but as for me, I somehow wish we could just keep on lighting candles every week, more and more.
Maybe we could make a wider circle, or maybe a long line of candles, lighting another one each week, each one taking a turn, making sure everyone got a chance.
That's one of the things that struck me this year. In the groups that were lighting candles, they were careful that everyone would get a chance. It wasn't a small thing. It was a Big Deal. A family came to light the candles and asked if their cousin who was visiting could help. A mother and son asked if a disabled member of the congregation could help. They wanted to make sure everyone who wanted a turn could take a turn.
There should be more candles, every week. We should still go on lighting them, until everyone gets a chance. After all, it is always Advent, in some ways; there are things we never stop waiting for.
At the first service today, when we lit all four candles, we had some trouble. They were real candles, and the wicks had burned low, and we could not get all of the candles to light. We tried and tried and tried, until the song was ended and there was this silence while we kept trying to pass the flame to the last two candles.
In the silence the congregation was standing and waiting. We had finished singing the verse of O Come O Come Emmanuel. Someone brilliant had lifted of the metal pieces off of the top of the last two candles, so that we could see the wick and light them. And in the silence I thought that everyone let out a collective breath.
It was all right. The circle was complete, for today. Everyone got a chance.
But still we wait. Even after Christmas, there will be waiting. There will be waiting for peace. There will be waiting for love. There will be waiting for an answer, for healing, for the footsteps of someone coming home. There will be waiting for your chance, for someone to hand you the fire, so that you can light the candle.
Someday everyone will have a chance. Everyone will get their turn. Everyone will be recognized for their created beauty.
In the meantime, make the circle wider, and let us keep lighting candles in the dark.
And the word became flesh, and dwelt among us.
Full of grace and truth.