Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Holiday Healing Tradition

How do we honour and give tribute to the memories of a loved one who is no longer with us, who would have always been a key part of our celebrations? Consider creating a new ritual that can become a tradition for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries or other special holidays or events.  

An advent wreath, holiday centrepiece or lighting of a candelabra is a traditional part of the holidays and celebrations in many homes. It can be simple, with evergreen cuttings in which you can place four or five candles of similar or varied colour and size. Some are placed as a table centrepiece, or on a side table or fireplace mantel. Some keep the same candles to use at each annual event or refresh them new each time. It is completely up to you how elaborate or simple you choose to go.

What follows here are some suggested words from a Christian perspective to accompany the lighting of five candles in a healing tradition. There are other versions of this healing ritual available online. Feel free to change the wording to suit your family or faith tradition. You may wish to replace (you) with the name of your loved one.

*  *  *  *  *

As we light these five candles in honor of (you), we light one for our grief, one for our courage, one for our memories, one for our love and one for our hope.

The first candle represents our grief. The pain of losing (you) is intense. It reminds us of the depth of our love for (you) and the presence of the Holy Spirit who comforts us in (your) absence.

The second candle represents our courage - to confront our sorrow, to comfort each other, to live fully into the present and move forward into the future with the strength that God gives.

The third candle is for our memories - the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we were angry with each other, the silly things (you) did, and the caring and joy (you) gave us.

The fourth candle is the light of love. Each day we cherish the special place in our hearts that will always be reserved for (you). We are grateful for the gift of love (you) brought to each of us and we thank God for your love.

And this final candle is for our hope. Our love and memories of (you) belong to us while we live on this earth and we have the assurance that because we have trusted in Jesus’ death and resurrection, we will meet again in heaven.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,

Original author unknown, attributed to various online sources. Adapted by Joyce E. Rempel
Photo credit: #1766055 and #9467773, standard license