It’s beginning to look a lot like Advent

Actually it isn’t. But I wrote this on the train the other day, as a very belated response to someone’s request for a song to go with the lighting of the Advent wreath, and I thought I might forget about if it I waited till November. 

Advent Wreath Song
to the tune ‘Father we place into your hands’

Mothers and fathers of the faith, who lived in time of old,
Leaders and judges, kings and queens were faithful, true and bold,
Travelers, heroes, shepherds, all with stories to be told:
Still they show us how to follow you.

Prophets and seers who spoke the truth in answer to your call,
finding new ways to bring your word to people great and small,
living their lives to show your love was meant for one and all,
still they show us how to follow you.

John, in the desert calling out, ‘The Kingdom has come near.’
‘Come and repent, and be baptised, there’s nothing then to fear.’
‘Jesus is coming now, the One you’re waiting for is here.’
Still he shows us how to follow you.

Mother of Jesus, angels called her favoured, full of grace,
Holding the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, in her embrace,
She is the one whose ‘yes’ helped God to save the human race,
still she shows us how to follow you.

And this last verse, for Christmas day, is by my friend and colleague Gill Robertson:

Jesus our Saviour, born a king, we welcome you today,
Lord of all time, Immanuel, with joyful hearts we say:
You are the Christ who came to earth for us; and now we pray,
Help us all to daily follow you.

The solution to the votive candle problem you’ve all been worrying about

Actually, this solves two problems:
1. After All Souls you have a whole pile of half-used tea lights – you don’t feel right keeping them for next year because you want to give people a ‘fresh’ one, so what do you do with them all?
2. You want to give out those 10cm by 1cm votive candles at a service (let’s not go into why – maybe it’s Easter, or a baptism) but they just don’t stand up on their own, and you have to provide everyone with those little card circles to catch the drips, and it’s a bit of a faff.
So, what do you do?
1. Re-light your tea-light, and wait for a small puddle of wax to form, approximately 1cm in diameter.
2. Stick the bottom of your 10cm votive candle into the puddle of hot wax (this will extinguish the flame as it squashes it) and hold it steady for a few seconds as the wax begins to harden.
3. Leave for 10 minutes to harden completely, and hey presto, you have a 10cm candle that stands up on its own, catches its own drips, and makes those old tea-lights feel as if they still have something to offer.
You don’t have to do one at a time, you can do large batches at once, and you can do it while you’re doing something else, such as talking on the phone.