Lighting the Evening Candles

“Mom, Mom! Is it time to light the evening candles?” 
“Soon, sweetie, very soon.”
“Oh, good!”

We started a new little family tradition a few days ago. With the change of the clock back to standard time, and the oh-so-early decent of the sun, it’s easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed by the darkness. To combat this, and create a sense of light and warmth, as each day wanes into night, I light the evening candles. 
As the last rays of the feeble Autumn sun disappear behind a bank of clouds on the horizon, I walk around my home igniting little flames. As each one bursts to life, I smile a bit. The tiny beacons of hope and warmth wave to each other from room to room, dancing in glass bowls on the kitchen table and the buffet in the entryway. Some smell of cinnamon, some lucious beeswax, some aren’t scented at all. But it’s pretty amazing the sense of coziness and comfort that is brought to all of us by the simple act of lighting a few candles. Though we’ve been at it for less than a week, it’s definitely something that will continue around here. 

As I walk around lighting candles each evening, I can’t help but consider it as an analogy for our lives today. There are a lot of things in the world around each one of us that press in and feel overwhelming, wearying, or just plain dark. 
What do I do or say when I’m tired? When I’m frustrated? When things don’t go the way I thought they would? When my husband or my kids (or myself) are weary and downcast? Do I respond in truth and hope, or do I succumb to fear and negativity? Do I “light them up”, or just leave them in their struggle? 
Sometimes it sure feels like it’s easier to just give in to the overwhelming emotions or the hard reality of whatever is going on in life. But a smile and few simple words of truth and kindness to my family (and myself) can ignite a flicker of hope and joy in our hearts, which reflects into the eyes of those around us and brings peace.
Kind of like lighting the evening candles. 

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” ~St. Theresa of Calcutta 

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