I struggle with the darkness in January. Even now, living in a state with 300 days of sunshine a year, I still struggle with the long nights and late sunrises.
When Jonah was a baby and woke at 5 or 5:30 to nurse and play for an hour or two before going back to bed, we spent many early mornings at the dog park just watching other people’s dogs chase balls on the hill. But in icy January, which was too cold even for Jonah in his fleecy snowsuit and fuzzy blankets, we stayed home and sat together by candlelight.
Candlelight feels sacred to me. The light illumines only the space directly around it, but that light is warm. Welcoming. Holy.
Sunday is Candlemas, when we will bring our candles for the year (the ones I have gathered, at least) to be blessed by our priest. Traditionally, the prayers for Candlemas echo Simeon’s recognition of Jesus’s divinity, as recorded in Luke
2:25-36. Jesus is the Light. May He reign in our homes. May His Light go forth from our homes to illumine the world.
Can we burn unblessed candles all year? Of course. Can they still remind us of Jesus and remind us to carry his light into the world? Certainly. But this small tradition during the season of Epiphany is one of the many opportunities the Church calendar affords us to break the barriers between Church life and home life, and our family certainly needs more of those. Will you join us?
“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” St Francis of Assisi