Thank you for joining me here at the new and improved Bonny Blue House! I’m so very grateful that you are here and I hope you will be coming back to check out all the new doings!
When I think of this season, what pleases me most is the light. The beautiful lights of Advent and Christmas. Yes, it’s Advent but so many of us prepare for Christmas during Advent by adorning our homes, inside and out, in lights. We light candles, we struggle to untangle the lights that we were sure would somehow miraculous not tangle when we threw them willy-nilly in the box last January. This is good. I am a big believer in keeping Advent as a season but in the same way I don’t plan big birthday parties on the day they take place, I don’t plan to prepare the celebration of the coming of the Savior on the day of. Makes sense, doesn’t it? I think we have to strike a balance between keeping Advent and enjoying Christmas without becoming the liturgical season police.
Last Friday my parish gifted us with Lessons and Carols. A presentation of readings that proclaim the coming of the Christ interspersed with beautiful music. Kevin served, Kelli and Bridget sang, Erin played, sang and ran around to accompany three choirs and a band. All while my heart sang. The music was beautiful but what delighted me most was the light. The Peace Light from Bethlehem to be exact.
“Each year, a child from Upper Austria fetches the light from the grotto in Bethlehem where Jesus was born. The light is carried in two blast proof miners lamps on an Austrian Airlines jet from Tel Aviv Israel to Vienna Austria from where it is distributed at a Service of Dedication to delegations from across Europe who take it back, with a message of Peace, to their own countries. Austrian Airlines then flies the miners lamps containing the Peace Light from Bethlehem to New York City.”
The local boy scout troop (#1 Babylon to which my Kevin belongs) fetches the light from JFK airport. The light is then used to light all the candles on the altar and the candles we all hold during the beginning of Lessons and Carols. It’s remarkably beautiful to stand in the dark church lit only by candlelight and listen to sixty voices sing hymns of such longing. We are invited, after the singing ends to bring our lanterns from home and take the light from the grotto into our homes and just about everyone does.
To have such a tangible reminder that we are preparing to receive is a real privilege and I’m grateful to both my parish and the Boy Scouts of America for making it possible. It’s been five days and the light is still going in our home (thank you Aldis for three-day candles for $1.29) and I usually manage to keep it going long enough to line my walkway with lanterns on New Years Eve to welcome my guests. That pleases me a great deal.
Here is the map of where the light has been delivered this year. Perhaps you can have it delivered near you next year.
This Friday is our parish’s Christmas pageant, which is a delightful combination of sweet innocence and total mayhem, but there is candlelight, spotlights and a star leads them. What’s a little mayhem compared to that?
This season is chaotic to be sure, this one in particular is kicking my butt big time. I’m a little overtired, overtaxed and feeling bereft. So tonight, after they all go to bed, I’ll sit near my tree, pull out my falling apart Bible and read the gospel of Luke, and then. maybe A Christmas Carol ( a well abridged version for the picture book fans among us) for my grumpy self. After that maybe I can recall the words of the Holy Father and feel them in my heart rather than having them just in my ears.
“Christmas is joy, religious joy, an inner joy of light and peace.”Pope Francis
For inner joy, follow the light.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Dear Mary Ellen,
Thank you so much for sharing about the light from the Grotto in Bethlehem. Our boys are in scouts and I had never heard of this tradition. How beautiful that it is shared with those all around the world! I too love all the lights at Christmas and especially a flickering candle or candles in windows. My great grandmother, who was from Ireland, always left a Christmas candle, adorned with a bit of holly, burning all night on Christmas Eve and into Christmas Day as a reminder of the Christ Child. So glad that you have decided to continue blogging. I enjoy reading your articles whether it be at Seton or at your blog page. Thank you for blessing us with your thoughts.
Dear Ann, How kind you are, thank you. My own mum kept a candle burning at the creche all night on Christmas Eve as well. A fine Irish tradition. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.