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Candlemas 2020

While writing my Advent blog posts, I was anticipating a brilliant coming of Light for the twelve days of Christmas, beginning Christmas Day. Instead on the third day of Christmas, I was in the hospital with my husband who was having emergency surgery, to be ensconced there for the next 9 days. New Year’s Eve and Day passed in a great grayness, less in fear, more in what Carrie Newcomer calls, “learning to live without knowing,” The light we had was Santa Monica sunshine through hospital windows during the day, and fluorescent glow by night. No candles allowed!

Therefore, it is with great anticipation, gratitude and hope that I welcome Candlemas. In one part of the tradition, it is the day when people bring their candles they will use for the next year and seek a blessing for them, with the intention of letting each of them be a reflection of the Light that has come into the world. As I look back at the days of Christmastide, there were so many places that Light was shining: meals offered and brought; cards, call and texts received; errands run; surprise gifts to cheer our spirits and a providential meeting with a willing and able dog walker who can handle our ever-so-so energetic, eternally youthful puppy. Prayers were rising from many corners of our past and present lives. The Light kept shining!

So it is with a hopeful and reassured heart that I assemble some of the candles in my life that I hope to light in this coming season: the ones that accompany me when I am engaged in sacred conversation; the beeswax one that illuminates the table where meals are shared, all the while reminding us of the need to keep our natural world as clean and safe as we can; the gifts that remind me in scent and depth that love and caring keep shining even in the most opaque darkness; the tall beacons that call attention to the world, wide and deep, with need for wholeness, for repair, for truth-telling. And I ask for blessing for the calling of each one as it is lighted and spreads it gift in the place where it is planted.

The lighting of candles sometimes seems to me so small when held up to the bonfires and furnaces of the world’s needs. Yet, I am trusting that with each one I light with blessing, there will be love shone, wisdom made clear, discernment seen for those in its periphery. The words of George Sand give me perspective, especially in these times of confusion and acrimony: It is high time that we had lights that are not incendiary torches. Yes, I mean to look for those lights, pass them one, even be one myself!