by Eilín Teeling AMMM Ireland 24.12.2021
We spend four weeks preparing for Christ’s coming, a time of hope, to find joy and a glimmer of light in our lives. Advent ends after dusk, before Evening Prayer, on Christmas Eve. Jesus who is born, is the Word made flesh, coming home to each of us, bringing the Good News of God’s ever-faithful love. Christ’s light dispels darkness.
For me, Advent ends after Christmas Vigil Mass, when our family gathers to light a Christmas candle, placing it in a window. The lit candle shows the way for Mary and Joseph, and the child born in a stable. This old Irish tradition also showed the weary stranger a light and apparently showed priests a safe home in penal times. I learnt it as a child and continue it with my husband and children.
This is a mystical moment, a moment in real time, that cannot be too early before dusk or postponed until Christmas Day. All preparation has ended, we have arrived, we can do no more, except welcome the Christ child and Holy Family. Our family hug each other, give thanks for our family and love, for the year’s blessings and events, and welcome Christ’s light to our family. God has been with us during the year, even if it seems that God is hidden behind clouds at times. As we light the Christmas candle, we feel very close to God.
Coinneal na Nollag
Lasfaidh mé coinneal na Nollag
Agus cuirfidh mé í san fhuinneog,
Ag fáiltiú roimh Mhuire is an leanbh
A rugadh sa stábla fadó.
I will light the Christmas candle
And I will put it in the window
Welcoming Mary and the child
Born in the stable long ago.