The Advent Candle

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m alone.

To be sure, it’s purposeful. I’m on the road and glad for the tiniest Christmas miracle of work. A musician work hazard is that we work when most others play (and most major holidays). Lest I sound ungrateful, I will be quick to express my gratitude.

But let me be honest…

Sometimes it sucks.

Today was spent in search of a last minute gift (finally found and purchased at the very last moment!), but a long day spent basically waiting for the Christmas Eve service I’m playing. In an hour or so, the sanctuary will be filled with families, the room will ring with praise for the One we celebrate, and the Good News of peace and goodwill to all men will be recounted. The candles of Advent will burn bright with hope.

But these candles cast their shadows already. I cannot help but think of the people I saw today on Southside asking for change…looking for help. Even the fellowship of the homeless I observed felt a bit hollow.

Jesus reminded us that the poor will be with us always. But what about the lonely?

I cannot help but wonder about the people I will play for tonight. How many feel the crushing weight of loneliness and despair, even while surrounded by a crowd of people.

How many are at Christmas events with family and friends, and might as well be sitting alone?

Joy to the world, Christ has come to remember and redeem even the lonely. He has a name for each of us that only He knows. There is coming a day when he’ll whisper it in my ear, and every tear and heartache will be wiped away.

The flame of the Advent candle burns low. But the Hope of Advent still burns. May even the smallest flame burn true and cast aside the lonely darkness.