The Little Candles

Hi everyone,

This poem is for those grieving during this Christmas season. Pain and loss cause darkness in our lives. They make it hard to get through cheerful holidays or even face an ordinary day. Christmas, though, is a promise of a new day—and a new life in the newborn Christ. Our loved ones are promised this life, and so are we. Some days the hope and healing He offers us may feel like they are coming slowly, but like rays of sunlight coming one by one over the horizon, they will bring a new dawn and better days.

God bless!
–Morgan

“The Little Candles”
For the grieving this Christmas season, for peace deep inside them

All the lights just went out.
You could still hear everyone breathing or
coughing here and there, like bursts of static
on a silent radio station.
I sat still, imagining the darkness was nothing more
than a chilly blanket wrapped around the congregation
in the sanctuary that Christmas Eve.
But after a long moment, the darkness got colder,
the sounds grew distant, and my mind made
the black air empty and eternal.
It reminded me of the first night I went to bed
knowing I couldn’t wake up and call you anymore
when I wanted to talk,
the first night I knew I couldn’t run to you
when I needed you,
the first night I knew you wouldn’t be there
for the next Christmas, the next New Year,
the next day.

In the front of the sanctuary the pastor lit
the Christ Candle.
The little flame jumped awake in the nest of wax,
turning the cold white candle a buttery yellow.
The pastor held it up, and we began to sing Silent Night.
We each held our own little unlit candles, waiting for the light
to be passed to each of us, a symbol of Christ’s hope spreading
among us.
I sat perfectly still, watching. I felt that I’d been waiting a long time
for this light.

When the flame reached me, I lit my candlewick
from my neighbor’s and passed on the flame.
My tiny fire danced in my shaking sigh
as I cradled the candle in my frigid fingers.
I wished you were here, whispered that wish quietly
and swallowed the growing impulse
to cry.

The song rose, and we lifted our voices and our candles.
Holding up that little flame, I pictured you in it:
fresh and bright and warm again.
The darkness faded in all the candlelight
and I imagined each flame was a person we’d lost
now shining and whole again, a reminder in the darkness
that dawn comes one ray at a time.

When the sun rises tomorrow on Christmas
I’ll see you winking from the clouds:
a bright soul lighting up the heavens
and living out a promise of eternity.
 
 
Creative Commons License
The Little Candles by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marisa Deshaies
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 11:59:19

    What a beautiful poem. You capture the darkness of depression and the hope of Jesus’ love so well. Those dark feelings are often ones of loneliness–feeling like no one can possibly understand what you’re going through, a detachment from others as a way to just keep moving forward. But those feelings are also often ones of a desire for something more. Something to pull you back to happier times and a hope for something better. Faith is so often that pull because even just a glimmer of it helps us reach for more. One person can spark that flame; it doesn’t have to be much, but a little encouragement goes a long way.

    Reply

  2. Georgia Visitor
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 14:51:09

    Hey, cuz. This one’s bittersweet. Heavy on the bitter, but so heavy it’s weightless on the sweet.
    …Does that even make sense?
    Love ya!

    Reply

  3. brianabatty
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 19:24:31

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments 🙂

    Reply

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