This past Friday night, a few minutes before sunset, I lit the Shabbat candles like I do most Friday evenings.
By Tera Landers
I sang the words of blessing, and watched as the flames flickered, small, yet strong and steady. They reminded me that at this time of year, as evening comes earlier and earlier, we are surrounded by powerful, ancient stories of bringing light back into the world, just when it seems it is gone forever.
Advent candles, Hanukkah menorahs, Yule logs and Solstice trees – the lights that are kindled take on a sacred quality because they burn with a promise. A promise that the sun will return. A promise that our inherent worth will be honored. A promise that good conquers evil. A promise that a new way is possible.
This Winter Holiday season is often thought of in terms of “miracles:”
- The miracle of a God born as a sweet, tiny baby.
- The miracle of a jar of oil that lit ritual candles for 8 days.
- The miracle of a sun that returns, year after year.
But Rabbi David Wolpe, says those things aren’t the miracle at all.
Instead, he writes:
Rededication – that is the miracle.
The world is rife with worthy causes
we have taken up with enthusiasm and then abandoned.
Rededicate yourself to repairing God’s anguished world.
If we manage that,
the oil will burn for countless nights to come.
When we light our candles this year
When we light our candles this year: Our Advent candles, our Hanukkah menorah, our Yule Log, our Chalice; as you watch the flame take hold, may you rededicate yourself to what you care about most.
Rededicate yourself to mending a world that is broken. May your inner light continue to burn brightly.
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