Yesterday marked the fourth Sunday of Advent and the lighting of the love candle.

Have you noticed how often we malign the word love? We love pizzas, a new car, a promotion at work, a bought outfit … the list is endless!

However, the love reflected by the rays of the love candle is unfathomable.  Don’t ask me to explain it with words because I can’t do it justice.  God, our Heavenly Father, chose to come to earth as a tiny baby so we would know how deeply He loves each of us.  Madeleine L’Engle in her book, The Glorious Impossible, says, “The birth of Jesus was a Glorious Impossible.  Like love, it cannot be explained, it can only be rejoiced in.  Possible things are easy to believe.  The Glorious Impossible is what brings joy to our hearts, hope to our lives, and songs to our lips.”

One of my favorite monologues from my book Advent Encounters is Anna, and I’d like to share it with you.

ANNA

Hello, I’m Anna.  I wasn’t always as you see me now.  My wrinkled, gnarled limbs were once smooth and my gray hair was as black as a starless night.  You probably find it hard to believe my poor arthritic body once ran with the speed and grace of a gazelle. As you can tell that was a long, long time ago.

My husband and I had been married only seven years when he died.  I had a hard time accepting his death.  I felt God had turned his back on me.  I’d go to bed crying and wake up crying.  One day God broke through my grief and I began to see things in a new light.  That’s when I joined with the quiet ones of our land.  We never leave the Court of the People, and we spend our days and nights preaching, praying, and singing.

Simeon presenting Jesus to Anna. Stained glass detail from the church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs in Cambridge.

Today brought me a glorious blessing!  From a distance I heard old Simeon’s voice.  I could tell something awesome was taking place.  I wasted no time pushing my old body to the scene of action.  I arrived just in time to hear Simeon say, “Lady, many people will be unhappy when your son reveals their evil thoughts.  Expect them to treat him badly.  And, because you love him so, you’ll feel as if you have been stabbed by the same sword.”

The young mother flinched and looked as if she were about to burst into tears.  Simeon handed the baby over to my waiting arms.  “Anna, don’t you agree this baby is God’s gift to our universe?”

I looked deep into the child’s eyes and it was as if the heavens opened.  “Ah, yes, Simeon.  This baby is very, very special.”

I turned to the young mother and patted her arm.  “Little mother,” I said, “you hold in your arms the hope of the world.  Not even death will sever the tie that bind you and this little one together.  Go in peace and the God of Israel go with you.”


Anna’s experience with Simeon and her baby reveals that there is an inner light shining brightly within each one of us that equates to love.  Madeleine L’Engle beautifully tells us a similar message through her writing.  Sometimes that light is dimmed by life’s circumstances, but we all have the power within us to reignite the flame and shine on.  How do you keep your light glowing brightly this Advent season?

Prayer Thought:  Lord, there’s something wonderful about fleeing from the frenzy of daily living to it unfettered at your feet.  In your presence we are free to dream, to wonder, to adore and to hear God whisper.