Sunday, November 27, 2011

Take Care of the Light

Today is the first day of advent. I attended an advent festival at our school today. Twenty-five Grade One children walked a spiral of evergreens in the darkness heading for a single candle flame. In their hands they carried an unlit candle nestled into an apple. They light the candle at the top of the spiral and then as they walk back out of the spiral they place their candle on a golden star somewhere within the darkness.

This festival of advent is a metaphor for each of us to carry the light within us in these dark months of winter. Whether or not you are a Christian, this symbol is a powerful one. Sometimes there is so much darkness around us. We have to each carry light. I watched these small children today: so serious, so solemn, carrying their small candles, lighting them with care, taking such care to keep them lit as they found the place to set their candle down safely. It was an inspiration. Sometimes I don't think I take care of the light. Sometimes I walk too quickly, and don't notice the flame flicker and die. Sometimes the flame starts to gutter, and I give up on it, when if I had just been patient, just waited a little bit, it would have glowed to life.

I love advent. I love the darkness in the morning, the candles in my classroom, the singing, the quiet, and the anticipation of the holiday season. It is a busy time with four advent assemblies, shepherds' play, saint nicholas festival, santa lucia festival and winter choral concert. It is hard to imagine that in between all those festivals I will also teach geography and math and painting lessons.

But, I will, because, after today, after seeing those little children lighting their candles, I will carry all those lights. Tomorrow I, too, get to walk the advent spiral. I wish everyone a moment of peace and light in the darkness of winter. I wish for them to carry that moment through the Christmas season. I wish everyone took as much care of their candles as those Grade One children did today.

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