‘Be on your guard that your hearts are not weighed down…by the worries of this life’ the writer of Luke advises. It is the heartbeat of Advent to hope. It is why we light candles deep in the darkness of the longest night. A tradition that is shared around the world. In Southern India, Christians often put small oil burning clay lamps on the flat roofs of their homes to celebrate Christmas. Christians in China use paper lanterns to decorate their Christmas trees. Candles are also used as part of the St. Lucia's or St. Lucy's day celebrations in Sweden. Take a moment on this fourth day of advent to light a candle and pray through the worries that do weigh down your heart.
As winter days dim and bow to early
darkness, you, God of light, set watch
in the night sky and beckon the wise to
When hope hangs low in the human
heart, you, loving creator, kindle compassion,
breathing life into the early embers of change and empathy.
We light a candle for hope, sending
prayers high into the inky heavens and
dreams deep into the human soul.
As Advent dawns, God of all hope,
shine your light on the story of the
saints who journeyed before us.
May the seeds they planted in the world
– peace, joy, love – take hold in our
hearts and stretch towards the light.
(From Christian Aid’s prayers)
34 ‘Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.’