Morning Star, thy glory bright, far excels the sun’s clear light.
Jesus be, constantly,
More than thousand suns to me. (Morning Star, verse 2)
Welcome Back to SOLO at SIXTY
“Morning Star” is a hymn that is sung by the Youth Choir at the Moravian Church Christmas Candlelight Lovefeast Service while flickering, lighted beeswax candles are passed around to everyone in the congregation. For me, Christmas is not complete without this service, which is why we plan our family Christmas celebration in Winston-Salem, so that we can attend this special service. The Christmas music, the Lovefeast buns (no beef included!), the Moravian coffee (brewed with cream and sugar – only coffee I drink all year!), and the lighted beeswax candles, trimmed in red crepe paper make this service the epitome of the Christmas season. The New Philadelphia Moravian Church women make and trim our beeswax candles. The beeswax represents the purity of Christ, the red crepe paper wrapped around the candle (to prevent dripping wax) represents the blood of Christ, and the lighted candle represents the Light of Christ. While the Youth Choir sings “Morning Star”, the church lights are dimmed and lighted candles are passed out to everyone. During the last verse of the final hymn, the congregation stands and raises the lighted candles to signify our faith and love for one another.
My family has attended this service at Christmas for as long as I can remember. This year was no different. I’ll never forget the time my very stylish grandmother Isabel was with us for Lovefeast and had her Moravian bun sitting daintily on her knee while drinking her coffee and listening to the choir sing. Well, she crossed her legs and OOPS, there goes her bun, rolling down the aisle to the front of the church until it hit the wall and fell over. My sisters and I about died laughing but my grandmother and mother were mortified! There was also the year my daughter was Baby Jesus in the nativity, as she was the youngest baby in the church that year – 1 month old. We don’t let her forget that! Oh how wonderful Christmas is!
“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” Edith Wharton
When I think of Christmas, I think of lights. I love all the Christmas lights not only on my tree and in my house, but also in my neighbor’s windows, on their trees, in every church and business, along the roadways, on the downtown mall, everywhere you look. Christmas lights up our lives, giving us hope. Two weeks ago, my lovely neighborhood had its Luminary night. We placed luminaries along our sidewalks (3 feet apart) throughout the neighborhood. It was a beautiful and breath-taking sight gazing down our street and seeing all the lights. What a feeling of comfort and joy.
Before I moved to Charlottesville 20 years ago, a group of neighborhood friends and I would meet and walk and talk (imagine that!) in our neighborhood every evening at 8:30 after getting our kids to bed. We loved walking in December because our neighborhood, which had no street lights, was illuminated by all the Christmas lights. We did not need our flashlights. Light flooded our path. OH I loved those walks. We solved many worldly problems on those walks!
“Simply shine your light on the road ahead, and you are helping others to see their way out of darkness.” Katrina Mayer
Don’t you love that feeling when you’ve put all the Christmas lights on your tree and you plug them in? “Let there be light!” You look in wonderment and excitement at your beautiful Christmas tree. The lights transform the tree. I use many strands of miniature lights, but also add 4 strands of the BIG clear bulbs which really make my tree sparkle. I love the effect of the combination of smaller and bigger lights. There is no such thing as too many lights!
Speaking of candlelight, I recently visited Montpelier (Home of James and Dolley Madison) for their candlelight Christmas tour. Though the period decorations were very simple and sparse, the house was beautiful in its Christmas glory, illuminated by candlelight. And what fun it was visiting with the hosts, James and Dolley, in their period clothing talking with us as if we were in the year 1794, their first Christmas in their first year of marriage. Candlelight and firelight was their source of light. And it was enough.
“Let your light shine so brightly that others can see their way out of the dark.”
Tomorrow is the shortest day of the year… remember back on June 21st when I wrote about that being my favorite day as it is the longest day, but sad in that the following days begin to shorten. Well, December 21st is a happy day for me as well, because, not only is Christmas only 4 days away, but each day we will be gaining 1 minute of light. And as of January 7th, we’ll be treated to 2 more minutes of light daily! Why do we love and need the light so much? No one wants to be in darkness. Everything and everyone is drawn towards light, just like a moth.
When I became SOLO, I went through a very dark time. But the light re-entered my life through the love and support of my children, family, friends and co-workers. I discovered that I have a lot of light to share with others. We all do. And we need to share that light.
“Believe in your own light, your own strength, and you will be the light and inspiration for others to do the same.”
Before I end, I want to tell you what a wonderful weekend I had! Saturday was my Granddawg Paige’s first birthday pawty in Richmond. My younger daughter and I went to the pawty and from there to Newport News to see our friends from KY and their newest grandbaby. What a blessing! Babies (and dogs) bring such light into our lives. Just look at the glow of a new mom. Sunday my daughters and I traveled to NC and met my son to share Christmas with Mom and my entire family. It was so much fun and ended with the Christmas Candlelight Lovefeast. Even though we did not get back to VA until very late (or early you might say), it was so worth it. Spending time with those we love and cherish cannot be replaced.
I also want to share with you Days 14-20 of my 25 Days of Christmas Sweaters. I hope to put a smile on your face with my treasured collection of beautiful (NOT tacky) Christmas Sweaters! I am looking so forward to spending this Christmas with my kids and hope you too are celebrating with those most precious in your life.
Let your light shine for others to see and experience. Cherish the time with those you love, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.
I wish for you all a Happy Hanukkah today, and a blessed and Merry Christmas next Monday,