Light the Lamps
Our Christmas tree is decorated. It was my seven-year old Rose’s year to climb the ladder and place the gilt-winged angel on the top. Elise carefully unwrapped the santons I collected years ago in France and placed the nativity figures in the arch window. Charlie hung the six stockings and pulled out the Santa mugs for hot chocolate. Percy (4) and Finn (almost 2) have already managed to run out the batteries in the “Dancing Santa” (Thank the lord!). “Candycane,” the Mason family elf-on-the-shelf, has made his first appearance perched on the sparkling Eiffel Tower at the front door. “Nutcracker” has been on repeat on the iPad and Belle has danced her Sugar fairy pirouettes across the kitchen non-stop. And we officially are on “Christmas Go” at amazon.com. It is electric joy at our house!
But somewhere amidst the wrapping paper, tinsel and ribbons, jingle bells and chocolate truffles, my soul and I imagine yours too, is longing to experience something more. It is an inner glow that I’m after.
One of my most vivid memories of Christmas as a child was our house at night. Not only was a twinkling tree in the front bay window but every window, door and arch was illumined by a candle. The street might be pitch-black when I came home from a school pageant or holiday activity, but upon arriving at 383 Connecticut Avenue all was aglow. During Advent I or one of my sisters would be tapped to go through the house at dusk to “light the lamps” as my mom called it. I imagine many a spirit was lifted driving past our house during Christmas. But what I especially remember is how it felt to live in a house that glowed from the inside out. It didn’t matter how dark it was outside or how scary the world could be because I was surrounded by candles of loving light on the inside. Maybe I could not have articulated my theology as a nine-year old in a flannel candy cane nightgown, but my soul knew a little of that peace beyond my understanding. Now all grown up, oh how my soul longs to live in a flesh and bone house filled with a sea of candles and for even a breath experience that child-like peace only God can give me.
This is what it’s all about; why I am here and what God needs from me now. I am supposed to be the house at 383 Connecticut Avenue, candles in every window. Every day, God taps me to walk through every room of my inner being and “light the lamps.” Some days will be harder than others: three funerals in a month, a friend recently diagnosed with cancer, the pressure, energy and devotion to be the mother my six children need and deserve, even a crazy dictator in S. Korea with a missile pointed at us. I know the absolute fragility, unpredictability and tenderness of this one precious life we are given. Whoever said that living in faith would be easy?
What I do know is that this Christmas I do not want to be the dark house on the street. I want to glow.
God needs me to glow.
This “house” that each of us is given, illumines when we dare to trust God with our life, with all that we love, with our today and our tomorrows. We can ask God to light a candle inside, not for ourselves alone but also at the chance that someone might pass by our house this Christmas and find faith, hope and love again.
Want to feel something more this Christmas? Get busy lighting candles.
Live in Hope,
August 15, 2019
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