The Christ Candle by Robynn
Advent is the season of waiting for the Christ. It’s typically celebrated during the month of December as the church collective waits, again, with eager expectation for the arrival of Jesus—joining in the ancient longing for His first coming and looking forward to His second arrival. Often a special wreathe with four candles encircling it is used to count down the weeks. Each week a different part of the narrative or a different virtue is commemorated. A pink or lavender candle is lit for joy or for hope or to remember the shepherds or the angel’s part in the Old, Old Story.
And normally there is a fifth white candle, the Christ Candle, which is lit in tremendous elation on Christmas morning. Christ has come. He is here. The waiting is over. He has arrived.
Obviously I put away the Christmas decorations months ago. But the past several years I’ve kept out the Christ Candle.
I light it when the worries are too consuming and I need to remember that Christ is here.
I light it when the world is in shambles—Egypt is volatile, Pakistan is again attacked, Syria is still unrested, political corruption spreads here and around the globe. I light it and I bring to mind that Christ is Ever Present.
I light it when my friends are hurting: someone’s roof is leaking, someone’s child is sick, someone is overworked, someone is facing a new job and is nervous, someone struggles at family reunions to remember she is truly loved. I light my precious white candle and I recall that Christ Himself attends to my friends. He cares deeply and personally for each one. He alone is the light in their dark night.
I light my Christ candle when I fear for my own children, when I see the anxieties of their souls creep out on to their faces, when I know by their eyes that they are weary and worn down, afraid or battling loneliness and longings beyond their ages. I light my candle then.
I light it for myself too. Sometimes the sorrow is too great. Sometimes the sadness threatens to steal all joy. Sometimes my own weaknesses, my own sins, my own selfishness consume me. Sometimes I worry, I fret, I fear. Anxiety and panic dance on the edges of my sanity. I light it then. I deliberately recollect that Jesus is very near, he is Emmanuel, God with us. The waiting is over. I can breathe. I can trust. I can rest. The flickering flame repeats these seemingly fragile truths back to my knowingly fragile soul and I am comforted.
Yesterday morning our three children marched out the back door to three different schools. They took notebooks in their backpacks and butterflies in their stomachs. I lit my Christ candle then too. Christ goes with them. He has already inhabited their classrooms. Assigned seating puts Him right next to each of them in their various classes.
Jesus sees their hearts, he hears their prayers, he knows their problems. And in lighting my candle I remember all that.
~St Patrick’s Prayer~
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.