Merry Christmas, From My Family to Yours…

 
Merry Christmas! I will be taking the next week off and trying
my hardest to stay off-line, not only to spend time with my family but also to
finish a couple of projects that need to be done before the new year. Before I
leave I wanted to share one of my favorite Christmas stories with all of you. Let
this story inspire you and bring light into your world between now and the New
Year.
 
As some of you may know, my mother was a minister. My
favorite time of year to watch her at the pulpit was Christmas. Mom loved
Christmas — everything about Christmas. Trimming the tree, caroling, and the sermons
she would share throughout the season. Her favorite, however, was the candle-lighting
service held Christmas Eve at our church. My mother did not create the service –
that was done prior to her becoming the faith leader at the church. But she did
take the service to a special place, treating it as though it was the sacrament
of communion. Indeed this service was a communion in light. Simple, elegant,
and inspirational.
 
About 5 years or so before she died, I asked my mom to share
the service with me so that I, in my home or wherever I am, could celebrate the
way I remembered celebrating as a child. Now many churches do candle-lighting
services of one form or another. What I loved about this one was the colors she
used for each candle and for the symbolism she presented through the service.
It’s that symbolism that I want to share with you today.
 
My mom believed deeply in the story of the Nativity, holding
each member of that sacred scene in a position of honor. What you see below is
a representation of how she viewed each character and what they symbolized in
the story of the Nativity.
 
Candles were set up on an altar with a tall, white taper in
the center to represent the Christ.
To the left were three smaller tapers as follows — red to
represent Mary and the purity of her divine love; yellow to represent Joseph
and the highest of divine wisdom; blue to represent the shepherds and the
innocence of a child. To the right of the tall white taper were another group
of three smaller tapers — green to represent Melchior, the first of the three
wise men. His was the gift of gold to represent the prosperity of spirit; orange
to represent Gaspar, the second wise man. His gift was frankincense to
represent the purest and deepest devotion; the last candle was purple to
represent Balthazar the last of the wise men. He gave myrrh and the candle represents
the gift of healing.
 
In this candle-lighting service, parishioners were asked to
pick a candle and light it from any (or many) of the seven candles focusing on
those attributes that you wanted to work on and pray on in the upcoming year.
 
I always remember this service as setting the tone for my
new year. Music was played, usually by one of the harpist from the LA
Philharmonic who just happened to be parishioners. It was a breathtaking
service and when mom gave me permission to replicate that service in our home a
guaranteed that one of my favorite traditions would continue.
 
Now that my children are growing up and beginning to leave
the home, I know the time will come when I can pass this tradition on to them.
 
It is my hope that if the symbolic meaning of the Nativity
and what this candle-lighting service can truly represent has meaning to you
that you share it. Replicate it for yourselves and hold the meaning of
Christmas and the season of light in your heart.
 
Blessings to you and your family. May you all have a happy
and healthy New Year.

 

I have exciting things to bring to you in 2015 including six
new books before we hit summer! Until then, enjoy all that this season has to
bring.
 

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