Post 42 Tuesday 22 December . . . (Christmas Extra) Lights do it. On Monday evening the word was “Go.” Amid occasional rain and finger-numbing cold we walked the trails of Wellfield Botanic Gardens Winter Wonderland Holiday Lights in Elkhart. Wonderful! We wore coats that shed the sprinkles and minimized the shivers, though our hands were freezing as we snapped pictures. Wood fires added to the festive setting. Masks, timed-ticket entry and one-way trails allowed social distance and all such safety measures ( no hot chocolate this year) to be readily met. We ate it up.
In the Christian tradition Christmas trees lights, symbolizing Jesus as the light of the world, are traced to early modern Germany where actual candles were used.
I spent an exchange year in Germany in the mid-1960s. The forester in our area cut down a tree for the church that met at the retreat center and retirement home where I was a volunteer. During those weeks of Advent and Christmas services my job involved lighting the candles on the tree and sitting close by with a pail of water. How sweet and fragrant it was; no mishap, just a host of flickers that lightened the darkness. The sermons I’ve forgotten; the candles’ flickering light I remember.
A walk through the Wellfield Botanic Gardens
Evening Prayer, 1928 Book of Common Prayer
“Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord, and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night, for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, Amen.” A prayer for all conditions of humankind.