Week Three: Wednesday
A neighbor in an adjoining subdivision to ours is Jewish. At least that is my supposition since the family keeps an 8’ metal menorah cemented to the ground in their front yard year-round. We pass this house when we head to town, and I’ve come to call it “The Menorah House.” I am moved by any and all who proclaim a faith in this dark season.
This particular menorah, however, has flames missing on the nine candles. The candlesticks themselves are lit up in blue, as is the base, but all of the bulbs atop them have been removed. I can’t help noticing the irony that the menorah symbolizes the Festival of Lights, and yet on the candles of this one neighborhood menorah, there are no lights. What happened?
It is still 2020, so that already explains much. Perhaps there was such a high demand for bulbs that fit this particular menorah that none could be found as replacements. Or perhaps this family is strictly following Covid guidelines and is not going out to buy bulbs. Or maybe that part of the menorah quit working this year. Whatever the reason, the flameless structure got me wondering about flames that go out, that sputter, that can’t quite catch the oxygen they need in our own lives, despite our greatest intentions to be ablaze.
It’s difficult to keep a flame glowing if you happen to be dealing with an ongoing illness with no end to treatment in sight . . .or if you’ve lost a loved one . . . or if you are under the black clouds of depression or anxiety. It’s difficult to keep a flame glowing if you are exhausted by the expectations of others . . .or if the divisive noise of this world keeps pounding at your ears . . . or if you live alone and have had to work at home alone since last March. It’s difficult to keep a flame glowing if you are worried about money or whether your children will have enough to eat, let alone any gifts for the holidays. It’s difficult to keep a flame glowing if Covid has made you ill or affected your livelihood. It’s difficult to keep a flame glowing if this holiday season is going to be lonely and different from seasons past . . . or if you are tired of following all the Covid precautions and just want it all to be done with, already. It’s difficult to keep a flame glowing if . . . .
Sometimes we are like that flameless menorah, planted firmly in the ground of what we believe but unable to get that spark going. That doesn’t make us “bad” or faithless, weak or less-than: it simply makes us human. The Source of that flame is still within us, no matter what; it is shining inwardly even when we cannot see it, because the Light has come into the world, to all people, especially those with fluttering flames. Let us seek out the lights, the candles, the stars and allow them to reassure us that the flame lives on, that the menorah will glow again, and that no darkness can overcome the Light. Blessings to you.