The contrast of light and dark is powerful, even to the youngest eyes. God uses stories and pictures of light and dark all throughout Scripture from beginning to end. A fascinating visual study if you like to journal.
This picture of light and dark that God painted all over is the reason I love using candles to walk through Advent and Lent. The visual of the flames dancing is enough to mesmerize any eye, but when you can tell a story by candlelight, it is all the more powerful. Our family looks forward to this simple activity on Sunday night every year.
At Advent we pull out a 5 candle wooden holder (from Target) and for four Sundays we light one more candle and on Christmas Day we light all 5. A scripture reading (sometimes a book) and a song that communicates —
“He’s coming.” “He’s coming.” “The Light is getting brighter!” “He’s here!”
At the start of Lent we pull out a 7 candle wooden holder. The first Sunday of Lent (that’s today) All the candles will start lit, because He came and is here.
Light: The whole world doesn’t realize that Light is finally here! Yes, He came! We celebrated His birth at Christmas, but no-one seems to know – not yet. They’ve been walking by the One who made the world! The baby came like the beginning of sunrise, but dawn is here, bright and proud. Those sitting in darkness under the shadow of death are about to be drenched in Light. “Behold, The Light of the World!” (Luke 1:78, 79; John 1:9)
Then we’ll snuff out the first candle.
Dark: Will they know who He is? Will they see the light? Doubtful – at first glance, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” He came to His own, and His own did not receive him. (John 1)
Every Sunday of Lent we feast and then at night before we enter a new week we’ll continue to do the candles, talking about this Light and Dark until Good Friday when the last candle is snuffed out. Has darkness won? It seems so…
But on Resurrection Morning all the candles are lit again in celebration. He is alive and has overcome the darkness! Alleluia! Now we feast!
Did I mention that the candles…and the feasting…are our favorite parts!
And so it should be.