Passing It On
Whenever I hear Silent Night, something in me stills. Maybe it is because my memories are flooded with singing it during midnight Christmas Eve services as a single candle's flame is passed from one to another, illuminating the room.
As the room glows, I cannot help but think of the things that we can pass to each other as we pass the light: peace, joy, love, friendship, food, kisses and hope. While singing, my spirit is stilled, reverent in this holy time when we light our corner of the world with the light of Christ.
This moment, though poignant, is fleeting. Once our songs end, we go back to the world and who knows what we will find? There is fear that persists all around us: fear of losing loved ones, fear of finding a safe place to be, fear of being enough, fear for our very lives.
But through Advent and on Christmas, we get to enter into a story of hope. Through the birth of a dark-skinned child far from home, the world gets turned upside down. We enter into a story where God abides with us, taking on flesh. Our fingers are shaped like the fingers of Jesus. Cries come out of our mouths the same as Jesus. And with Jesus, we are invited to be vessels of healing, peace, and reconciliation.
Leaving service, we might have some wax on our fingertips as those paper shields never fully protect us from the dripping candle. Indeed, this invitation does not protect us from living in the world. Discipleship will not keep us from fear, heartbreak, nor hardship. Instead, we will find peace that is known by facing conflict, love deeper than sentiment, joy that is richer than happiness and hope that is truthful.
This year, as we sing Silent Night, what we are passing to
our neighbor? While it is possible for us to pass peace, love, joy, and hope, it is equally possible to pass on hatred, fear, worry, and shame.
What will you pass on? How will you make the light of Christ known in the moments after you blow out your candle?