by Cindy Pratt


What is that moment that makes Christmas “real”? For me, it probably wasn’t just one moment, but a compilation of experiences that ultimately brought a moment of insight and a bit of clarity. As a child, Christmas was focused on the birth of Jesus. Our traditions always included a crèche under the Christmas tree, reading the Christmas Story from the Bible, and going to church for midnight communion (or it seemed like midnight to a young girl who was allowed to wear her pajamas!).


When I was in high school, I suddenly saw a different side to these rituals. We were attending a Christmas Eve service (and, no, I was NOT wearing my pajamas) and it was time for the evening candle lighting. This was always my favorite part. I anticipated the sharing of my candle’s flame with my neighbor, the lowering of the sanctuary lights and then. . . . the darkened sanctuary made beautiful by flickering candlelight. But on this particular evening, as the lights were dimmed, the sanctuary remained bright, full of light, light from all the lighted candles. Oh my goodness, I had lit only ONE candle!! In communion with each other, each of us lighting just ONE candle, we did not have darkness. Despite the lowering of the lights, our light remained. . . and all it took was for each of us to light ONE candle.
Is this what Christ wants from me? To not worry about how many “candles” I light, but to just light the candle next to me? It’s a beginning, but, as the song says, we can then “Pass it On.”

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