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The Power of Light

jstevenson | Journeys through Grief

It’s not unusual that in the darkest part of the year, there is so much emphasis put on lights. The Mission Inn in Riverside lights up its exterior with strings of lights. It is a fantastic and beautiful sight. December is a season of lights.
Hanukkah, which means “dedication,” is the Festival of Lights. Each night for eight days families gathers to light a candle.
The Advent season ends with the beautiful Christmas Eve Candlelight service. Kwanzaa is an African-American celebration of culture and values. It involves lighting candles and sharing those values with poetry and song. We string lights on the Christmas Tree and illuminate our homes.
Lights remind us that there is hope in the darkness. Lights beckon us forward, for darkness can be troubling and we seek the relief that light brings. Light takes away the fear of the darkness because it makes it easier to see our way.

When a person dies, it can be and feel very dark. We will say, “A light has gone out in my life” or “She was the light of my life.” We can feel as if there is no hope because the person was that important to us. Especially early on in our grief when nothing feels right and our way forward is very hard to imagine. And the same love that connects us to that person and makes them so important to us, is the same love that lights our way. Love is a light in the darkness. It will not be denied by darkness.

Any time we light a candle, lamp, or match representing our person becomes a powerful symbol of the primacy of that love. That light becomes healing for us and documents the enduring connections we maintain.