Lighting a Candle

November 29, 2019

We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness.

                                                                                                      -John F. Kennedy

 Is it just me, or has this been an extraordinarily gloomy fall?  It seems as though the sun has been very elusive over these months, so much so that a buzz will ripple around the playground when there is a blue sky sighting. Okay, so maybe I am exaggerating a little bit, but the other day in the office, everyone stopped and looked longingly out the window when Mrs. Resendes enthused, “The sun is out!”

Living in Winnipeg, we get kind of spoiled with sunshine. Over the last few summers we have seen nary a cloud in the sky. We certainly get our share of cold weather, but even on those brisk winter days, we usually get beautiful clear skies and sunlight reflecting on the inevitable snow. I think I tend to take the light for granted and then, in its absence, I realize how much I look forward to my time in the sun, so to speak.

Of course, December will only serve to exacerbate this problem. Even with a change in the cloud cover, our hours of daylight are in serious decline. By the time the winter solstice comes, our days will creep towards a total of eight hours, less than half of our peak  in June. This lack of natural light can be very disconcerting. Even those of us who don’t suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder can notice a shift in our moods as the daylight hours shrink away. Vitamin D, anyone?

If you’ll pardon the pun, there is a bright side to the growing dark.  By no coincidence, our liturgical year aligns with nature’s seasonal rhythms.  The season of Advent is upon us, a time of preparing our homes and our hearts for Christmas and the arrival of Jesus, Son of God and the Light of the World. As the weeks leading up to December 25th get progressively darker, we yearn for the light, both literally and figuratively.  The dramatic darkening outside is the perfect foil for our internal, spiritual  journey.

Our Christian tradition of lighting the Advent wreath is a beautiful symbol of our faith. As the shadows deepen, we choose to light a candle, inviting more and more light into the world with each passing week.  In the face of dark, we choose light; we can fill one hamper, comfort one friend, or wrap one gift for a child in need.  Marking the season with acts of faith and charity is bound to bring the warm glow back into our dim, winter hearts.

The school community will gather for Advent assemblies each Tuesday mornning in December. As well, our school mass takes place on Thursday, December 12th.  Please feel free to join us for these celebrations. There is nothing like a faith gathering with children to remind us of the light in a world that seems dark.

As for the other sun, keep the faith; we are nearing the tipping point!  This year the winter solstice lands on the 21st, so we’ll gradually creep out of the shadows as the New Year progresses.  May the increasing light remind us all of God’s gift to us at Christmas and throughout the year.


Christine McInnis