As a child I remember that my mother loved to light candles for many of our evening meals. For me, it made the meal time extra inviting along with the delicious food served, and the ordinary conversations of daily life. Time permitting, my father would tell a favorite story using the candles as a prop that we as children, and even as adults, loved to hear.
As a college student returning home for a visit, and when Jim and I were first married, I remember the candle light in the window welcoming us home. It was as though it was a beacon of light guiding our way back into the open arms of family life lived there.
January is the month that my mother passed away 31 years ago. I am especially mindful during this time of what I learned from her about living, loving, and dying. She loved Jesus Christ with a tender hearted passion. She reflected the light of Christ to all who knew her.
Through the years, lighting a candle often makes me think of my mother and the tradition that I have integrated into my own family’s life. Yet, for almost 15 years now, I am also reminded of the presence of the Holy Spirit who lives within us as believers. Christ, as the Light of the World, beckons us to reflect His light to others in every way that we can. Part of the journey of Christian Spiritual formation is to notice or pay attention to how Christ “shows up” for us in ordinary every day life. This simple act of lighting a candle is one such “noticing” for me.
Christ is the One who is the beacon of light for us daily. Thank goodness He will also welcome us home for that particular time when it is our turn to cross the divide between earth and heaven receiving us into “family life lived there.”