The season of Advent is drawing to a close.  The great feast of Christmas draws nigh when we will again celebrate the birth of the Christ Child in a lowly stable in a small insignificant town more than two thousand years ago. 

One of the ways in which I join with other Christians to mark Advent is to light candles on the Advent wreath – four candles for the four Sundays of Advent which surround the white Christ Candle at the centre of the wreath which is lit on Christmas Day.  The light of these candles is most appropriate as it symbolizes the light that is coming into the world at Christmas – the darkness has been overcome as noted at the opening of the Gospel of John, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” 

There are many associations that we can draw upon when we think about candles beyond those on the Advent wreath.  Candles were used on the first Christmas trees when they were introduced to England by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  These were replaced by electric lights fortunately but I know of people who still use candles on Christmas trees which can be done safely if proper protocols are followed.  Of course, there are the candles on birthday cakes which increase in number every year and the birthday cakes if us Baby Boomers are becoming conflagrations. An opportunity to make a wish for the coming year. 

Candle lights still are a powerful symbol of lighting the way and, as it says in John’s Gospel, overcoming the darkness of this world.  There are many songs and hymns which have a theme of lights and candles.  Two of my favourites are, This Little Light of Mine, and Jesus Bids Us Shine which are both from my childhood.  Here’s the chorus for This Little Light of Mine:

This little light of mine - I’m gonna let it shine

This little light of mine - I’m gonna let it shine

This little light of mine - I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

Perhaps the power of the song is the repetition of some simple lyrics.  It certainly is easy to remember and has a message that is hard to miss.  Here’s a link to the song on YouTube to brighten your day,

The other favourite of mine as I noted is Jesus Bids Us Shine.  Here are the lyrics for the first verse.

Jesus bids us shine with a clear, pure light,

Like a little candle burning in the night;

In this world of darkness, so we must shine,

You in your small corner, and I in mine.

I always think of this one as the introvert’s theme song.  In my most introverted I like to think of myself being able to let my light shine in my small corner where I am safe and sound.  It was knowingly or not the theme of my life growing up where I could be myself in my small corner and still let my little light shine.  I sometimes still like to retreat to my small corner and recharge my batteries – true introvert that I am.

In any case I hope you will let your little light shine in the darkness of this world and remember it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.  May you be Blessed this joyous Christmas time.