Parson’s Corner

December 2021

Light in the Darkness

Why is it, I ask in a recent sermon, that as the days grow shorter, and darkness seems to take over our season, we place more and more lights around our homes, our market places, even our Churches.  Many houses of worship dedicate a wreath with four candles, one more lit each week as we prepare for Christmas.

Why is that?

Simple.  We seek, we crave Light in the darkness, the loneliness of our lives.

Noted choral composer Natalie Sleeth wrote the words and music to a beloved anthem:  Light One Candle”  Peter, Paul and Mary had a signature anthem as well, recalling the Hanukkah miracle at the time of the Maccabbean Revolt of the Jews against the Greeks before Jesus’ time.  The miracle of Lights – when the oil of the Temple in Jerusalem lasted for eight days.  (Read the Inter-Testament portion of the Bible, sometimes called the Apocrypha, which gives the story of the Jewish Revolt – which actually leads up to the story of Jesus, Herod and the time of the Roman occupation of Israel).

And why is it we adorn our homes – and in Wellsboro even our streets – with pines?  It is to remind us of the ever-green in the cold of winter, “When all the leaves are dead” (The Huron Carol).

In many homes nowadays, from an old (German?) tradition, we place candles in our windows.  If I remember, it is also a Mexican tradition to show a welcome to the travelers – Mary and Joseph, that here is a warm place for you to birth the Christ-Child.

So I offer the thought of Ms. Sleeth, of whom I wonder if she lit an Advent Wreath on her dinner table:

            Light one candle for Hope,

                        one candle for Peace,

                                    one candle for Joy,

                                                one candle for Love.

And I pray with Peter, Paul & Mary that we, “Don’t Let the Light Go Out.”

Check YouTube for their 25th Anniversary presentation.

Light one candle, then two, three, four, and finally the Christ Candle.

And don’t let the Light go out!                                                                               Fr. Ed