My daughter was baptised on 31st October (to be fair, it was a Sunday that year, and we were celebrating All Saints) so every year her lovely godparents give her (and us) something to do during Advent. Often it is one of those lovely candles that you light every evening, burning about a quarter of an inch of it while you eat your dinner. I am particularly impressed that they managed to post the candle to us and that it arrived in one piece, having traveled several thousand miles to do so!
It’s a lovely tradition, and we’ve done rather better with it this year than last; because I am not working in the evenings, we have eaten a lot more meals together as a family, and we’ve shared this beautiful candle flame every night. It’s generated some lovely questions from the children about what all the ‘name of Jesus’ actually mean. Some they know well (Good Shepherd, Prince of Peace) while some are less familiar (Lion of Judah). There is always plea, ‘Can I strike the match to light it this time?’ and a firm, parental, ‘no’; there is also a brief, generally good-natured tussle about who will get to blow it out.
But mostly we love the flame. We love how it reminds us that it’s Advent, and that it’s special. We love how lighting a candle makes our dinners feel special, even if we’re eating mash and beans. We even bought it a candle stick from the thrift store, so that the light from the flame could be reflected by the shiny brass.
And we love how when we blow it out, the smoke twists and swirls to fill the room, and yet just stops short of setting the alarm off.
A candle means all these things. Enjoy one today – and every day until the Light of Christ comes into the world.