Simple Advent revisited: In the dark, discover peace at candlelight | Earth beat

Editor’s Note: For the 2021 Advent season, EarthBeat is revisiting and republishing some of the thoughts from last year’s series, “Simple Advent, Abundant Life.” register here to receive “Simple Avent Revisited” reflections three times a week in your mailbox.

Second week of Advent – Reflection
Monday 6 December


It was the start of a practice I took to call it Candle Hour. An hour before going to bed, I turn off all my devices for the night. I turned on the lights. I light a candle or two or three – enough to read a book, or to just sit and watch the flame, which, drawing in oxygen, reminds me that I must also breathe. … Candle Hour doesn’t even have to last a full hour, however; sometimes it lasts much longer. I stay seated until I feel disconnected from the chaos, or until the candle burns out completely, or sometimes both. …

At night, by candlelight, the world seems enduring, old and slow. To sit down and look at a candle is to step through a portal to a time when the light of fire was the alpha and omega today. We are evolved for the task of living by candlelight and unsuited to the way we live now.

Julia Scott, Letter of recommendation: candlelight, The New York Times

On the second Sunday of Advent, we lit the Bethlehem candle on our Advent wreath, which represents faith. Lighting candles during this season of darkness (in the northern hemisphere, at least) reminds us of our call to be light in the world and is a symbol of the hope of light and the promise of abundant life to come. of Jesus.

In a world where many bright lights (or screens) compete for our attention, we take the time during Advent to redirect ourselves to natural candle light and the light of our faith.

We also remember that living by candlelight helps us experience time as nature intended. Artificial lighting allows us to extend the day instead of relying on the rhythm of the earth and our bodies to rest and rejuvenate when night falls. To live in this way, in harmony with nature, is an act of humility because we believe that although our work in the world is unique and important, it can wait for the sunrise while we leave all that we hoped for. perform in the hands of God for the night.

To honor this sacred view of time, I invite you to an experience I learned a few years ago from an opinion piece in The New York Times that captured my imagination and helped me to slow down at the end of my day: candle time. The practice is deceptively simple and is described in the excerpts cited above.

During a time during the pandemic, when it was particularly difficult to get online, a friend and I made a commitment to do a 10-minute “candlelight hour” in our own homes each night before we went to bed. Sitting alone in my bedroom, I felt at peace and connected on a level that had eluded me during most of this pandemic time.

I invite you to join this practice with all who read this. We will be in community in our solitude. When the sun goes below the horizon, avoid turning on lights or using electronic devices an hour before you go to bed. Sit down and look at a candle, read, pray, stretch, take a shower, or do whatever will help you relax and slow down by candlelight. If you don’t have a candle, just make yourself comfortable and sit in the dark. Notice the paradox of abundance in the void and the space of time.


When the sun goes down today, practice a “candlelight hour” for as long as you desire before you go to bed.

To see the Simplicity Advent Calendar to deepen the reflection on the simplicity of time.

Simple Advent, Abundant Life
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