On Christmas Eve, the little church in the Vermont village I lived in always held a candlelight service. When the service was over, many of us---whether traveling on foot or in vehicles---did our best to keep our candles alight for the trip home. We wanted to carry our lighted candles ceremoniously into our houses; set them on our tables and our mantlepieces; light more candles from their burning wicks; preserve the light. We guarded our little flames carefully during the journey. They often succumbed to a gust of wind, or an inadvertent gesture. Yet, always, at least one candle remained lit, and was there to pass its light back, and on, to the rest.
This is a Christian tradition, of course. Yet the desire to bring light into the darkness, and love into sorrow, is universal, and is found in philosophies and beliefs all over the world. During this time of the year, an old celestial cycle is ending, and a new one is beginning. The lengthening nights have slowly turned, once again, toward the return of the light-giving sun. Let's now grasp the light and love that is given to us, and take it with us. Let's carry it into our homes, and into our hearts.