Light Reflections

14 12 2005

A new perspective changes things that we have experienced before. Sometimes, things that we all ready find unique and special can be transformed into something even more indescribable by a new view.

Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright,
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child!
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

The Christmas Candlelight Service is always a quiet service of reflection. Having attended it in years past here at Grove City, I knew that it was a Sunday evening to look forward to. My freshman year, Dr. Moreledge, the former dean of the chapel, was there to recite the Christmas poem.

Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight,
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing: “Alleluia:”
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born.

Sitting in the pew, it was warming to see those around me lifting their unlit candles to the light. The wick would quickly flame and the fire would pass down the row.

Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure Light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

“Lord, it is dark.” The light disappeared and only the light from the Christ candle danced in the chancel. The chapel was black. The poem continued with the lighting of the candle and the passing of the light. The light started slowly. It crept to the balcony and through the transepts. It spread through the pews with no regard to status. Administrators, faculty, children, and students. Each one lit their small candle from the one next to them and the flame spread.

Lord, it is dark, the road is rough to go;
I lift an unlit candle in the night,
Behold it, Lord, within my upraised hand.
Touch it to flame with Thine own heavenly light.

This slender waxen thing that is my faith-
Fire it, Lord, with some divine white spark,
Until its circle, widening at my feet,
Will mark my certain way across the dark.

“Thou wilt light my candle….” thus assured
I shall go forward through this unknown land;
The way can never grow too dark, too long,
For I shall bear Thy light within my hand.
“Thou Wilt Light My Candle” by Grace Noll Crowell

Standing in the chancel, I lifted my head. There were no flames evident. I saw no candles. Instead, I saw the glow of faces in the light. Pew after pew, family after family. Over one thousand faces illuminated by lights that I could not see. In the darkness of the chapel, the light seemed to come from each soul.

I had never experienced this inner light. The thousand lit faces welled up emotion. To view the glow in the darkness was indescibable. In this season of Advent, it was like an incarnation of the Incarnation. It was the embodiment of the Spirit in a candle flicker.

A candle was lifted in the narthex, signaling the choir and organ. Ethereal streams of “Silent Night” wafted heavenward as each still quietly sat in the pew. Voices melded with hearts as they both were pointed heavenward. As I heard “Sleep in heavenly peace“, I lifted my candle upward. The candles throughout the building followed, showing the seemingly inner light from each soul.

Silent night! Holy night!
Wondrous Star, lend thy light;
With the angels let us sing,
Alleluia to our King;
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born.

“The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world” John 1:9

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

The light that comes to the world will dwell within us. This light will not be hidden within us, but it will be evident. Perhaps those in the world will not know what causes the light. Instead, they will see the light evidenced by our demeanor and our actions.

Our actions will cause our inner light to be lifted up. In this, the reason for our light will become evident. And those viewing us will see the glory of the One and Only.




8 responses

14 12 2005

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

14 12 2005
Libby Greene

That was a great post, James. This time of year, I always need reminders of the true meaning of Christmas. It’s beautifully sobering.

As far as post go, I owe you one.

16 12 2005

The Dec 24 candlelight service is one of my favorites!! Enjoy all that Christmas is meant to be!

16 12 2005

Your never cease to amaze me in your writings.. I’m speechless.. that was an exceptionally touching reminder and very genuine indeed. Hope to see you soon!


2 01 2006
Libby Greene

[And the crowd chants]
“Update, update, update, update…”

Be a crowd-pleaser, James.

9 01 2006

Its time to quit being lame and update

12 01 2006


if you do, i promise to tell you monday evening’s story in its entirety.

when did your facebook profile get so normal? and why? out to impress any lady in particular? i’m finding neuch a wife, i’m happy to do the same for you.

9 01 2007
i’m a fan of postcards more than all i want, more than all i need «

[…] year, I wrote a piece entitled “Light Reflections“.  It captures the best of what I feel about […]

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