Here’s an idea for the Ending of the Year: collect all your left-over candles and place them around the room.
Choose a quiet moment, light them one by one and sit among them. Let your mind drift through the year that is closing down and let each candle help you come to terms with what has gone on in 2016.
You might name one candle, the Candle of Bitterness; so as it slowly burns to the end remember such experiences and as it eventually snuffles out seek to change your relationship with those times in the year that have hurt you.
There might a Candle of Grief or Regret or Incompleteness which reminds you of all the unfinished bits that now clutter your life. Let each candle burn for the time they have left and as they lose their light and a wrinkle of smoke ascends seek to see those times in a different light.
May the left-overs help you take your leave.
There will also be candles you might light for however brief a time to remember the times of Joy, Celebration and Success. Light them and cherish what you recall and as they lose their light take those times into your heart that they may warm you for the year ahead.
And eventually you will be in a darkened room.
Do not rush to switch on a light or light a fresh candle – let the darkness become a place of communion
Do you know this prayer? It grew out of the faith of the Iona Community and an island of that name which knows the spectacular blessing of deep darkness.
In this darkness
I do not ask to walk by light,
but to feel the touch of your hand
and receive an understanding that sight is not seeing.
In this death
I do not seek escape from pain,
but embracing loss,
find the strength to cross the bridge of waiting.
And now pray for the light with which you may enter 2017.
But it needs a humble waiting, for the light which is not overcome by darkness is not ours to command into brightness.
It is a gift not an award for effort.
It is a present not a purchase.
So finally place a fresh candle among the smouldering remains and wait.
Only light it when it can become for you a candle of Grace.
May 2017 be a year of Grace as they all have been since He awoke in Bethlehem.
This is another in my At the ending of the Day series of Sunday night reflections. More are on their way.
But coming next is Simeon’s Farewell.