We light four candles tonight in remembrance of our loved ones.
We light these candles for our own needs.
We light one for our grief,
one for our courage,
one for our memories
and one for our love.
The first candle represents our grief.
We own the pain of losing loved ones,
of dreams that go unfulfilled,
of hopes that evaporate in despair.
The second candle represents our pain and loss –
the loss of relationships,
the loss of health,
the loss of jobs,
and the loss of financial security.
As we gather up the pain of the past, we offer it to you, O God, asking that into our welcome hearts and open hands, you place the gift of peace and courage;
the courage to confront our sorrow,
to comfort each other,
to share our feelings honestly and openly with each other,
and to dare to hope in the midst of pain.
The third candle represents our memories. For the times we laughed together, cried together, were angry at each other or overjoyed with each other. We also pause and remember the past weeks, months and, for some of us, years of down times. We remember the poignancy of memories
– the grief, the sadness, the hurts, and the pain of reflecting on our own mortality. We light this candle for all the memories we share together.
The final candle represents our love. The love we have given, and the love we have received. The love that has gone unacknowledged and unfelt, and the love that has been shared in times of joy and sorrow. The love that is embodied in our faith and the gift of hope that God offers to us in the Christmas story. We remember that God, who shares our life, promises us a place and time of no more pain and suffering.
Comforting God, wrap us in your presence in this time.
With these candles, help us find your light, a light that will guide us day-by-day, step-by-step, as we try to live life fully and wholly. Now comfort us. Encourage us. Empower us. Amen.