Two Candles

Two lit candles in darkness

Tonight, many Christians around the world will light two candles on their Advent wreaths to celebrate the Second Sunday of Advent.

Tonight, many Jews around the world will light two candles on their Hanukkah menorahs to celebrate the Second Night of Hanukkah.

A similar gesture commemorating different holidays, and an unusual coincidence of two calendars that reminds us what unites us. Despite our differences, we are cousins: both descended from the same ancestral religion and both worshiping the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Like two candles, both lit by the same fire. The first continues to burn even as the second is lit, and both of them together burn more brightly that either one would alone.

Another reminder of our shared tradition: the words of the Prophet Isaiah that served as the Introit of the Mass in many Catholic parishes today:

People of Zion behold, the Lord is coming to save all nations; and the Lord shall cause you to hear his majestic voice for the joy of your heart.

Followed the words of Psalm 80:

O Shepherd of Israel hear us, you who lead Joseph like a flock.

And while the psalm quote stops there, the common lighting of candles tonight brings another verse of Psalm 80 to mind:

Restore us, O God of Hosts, show us the light of your countenance and we shall be saved.

A candle-lighting prayer Christians and Jews can share tonight. A prayer for continuing reconciliation after almost two-thousand years of bloodshed.

December 9

 Advent calendar graphics by Oh My Gluestick. They are intended for personal use only and may not be used commercially.

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