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Yesterday we lit the first candle of Advent. Advent is a time of waiting and preparing. During Children’s Chapel we made beeswax candles and you could feel the excitement and concentration in the room. The children were working hard to prepare for their Advent wreath making.

Advent messy wreathSome of the children were so happy to make their own candles, others were afraid to get started, still others were so very sad when the candle did not look perfect. That is the beauty of Advent; we sit in the darkness with all our feelings and wait. We enter the darkness of Advent with anticipation. We decorate with greens and light candles, slowly bringing forth hope, peace, joy and love.

As we light candles each week, the light grows and as it grows we can see the needs of others in our lives and in the world. We can make space for more love and light to fill the days of Advent. We can stretch out our traditions, make space between the parties and events, slow down the pace of the season. We can pause at the table to say a prayer for ourselves, for others, and for the world. The first candle is for hope. My hope for families this season is to have more relaxed time together.

If you were not able to make an Advent wreath here at All Saints, you can make one at home. You really only need 4 candles, one for each week leading to Christmas. Light a candle whenever your family shares a meal together and say a prayer of thanksgiving. We thank God for all the blessings in our lives and ask God to bless everyone with God’s love and light.

Help me to live this day
Quietly, easily.
Help me to lean upon your
Great strength
Trustfully, restfully,
To wait for the unfolding
Of your will
Patiently, serenely,
To meet others
Peacefully, joyously,
To face tomorrow
Confidently, courageously.
St. Francis of Assisi

Laura Thornton is the Children’s Minister at All Saints Church in Pasadena.