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Let There Be Light
By Susan Hines-Brigger

Q U I C K S C A N

Light of the World
Let the Light Shine
For Teens: Light Up the Night
For Kids: Tag, You're It

My four-year-old son, Alex, is afraid of the dark. In fact, every night he sleeps with a flashlight in his hand—and most of the time it’s turned on.

My husband, Mark, and I have tried to tell him there’s nothing to be afraid of in the dark, but he says he just feels better with his flashlight. (Apparently, whatever’s lurking in his room is afraid of the light.) So we don’t argue with him. After all, who hasn’t been afraid of the dark at one time or another?

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Light of the World

In our faith, we use the symbolism of light to offer us comfort and reassurance. Jesus is, after all, often referred to as the light of the world. And on the first day of creation, God said, “Let there be light” and saw “how good the light was” (Genesis 1:3-4).

We continue that tradition of celebrating the goodness of light in our faith practices with the use of candles for ceremonies such as Baptism or for Advent wreaths, and in the contrast of light and dark at the beginning of the Holy Saturday liturgies. Remember the song “This Little Light of Mine”? All those uses serve to remind us that, in times of darkness, Christ provides us with light.

Let the Light Shine

During this fall season, as days grow shorter, let us celebrate the many ways that light enhances our life.

• Get up early and watch a sunrise— or take in the sunset if you’re not a morning person. At night, check out the moon and stars.

• Take a nighttime hike. What you will see at night is completely different from what you’ll encounter during the daytime. Identify animals that you might see out at night that you wouldn’t during the day, such as bats, owls and raccoons.

• Have a homemade power outage. Gather all of your candles and flashlights. Or make a fire in your fireplace or outdoor firepit, if you have one. Pretend that there’s a power outage and spend the evening doing activities without turning on the lights. Play games, talk, tell stories or just relax.

• Make silhouettes. Sit each family member in front of a piece of white paper attached to a wall. Turn out the lights. Shine a light directly on the person and trace his or her silhouette onto the paper. After everyone’s silhouette is cut out, place each one on a larger piece of black paper and add the person’s name and the date. You might also try making some shadow puppets on the wall.

• Save some energy. While light is certainly a good thing, we sometimes take it for granted and overuse it. I’m constantly going through our house turning off lights that don’t need to be on. Be conscious of how much electricity you’re using. Consider ways you could cut back. Instead of turning on the lights, open up the curtains and blinds and let the sun do the work for you.

Next Month: Counting Our Blessings

 

For Teens: Light Up the Night

If you were to go to most any store, you can find a wide variety of decorative candleholders. But you can also put your creative abilities to work and make some of your own.

One type of candleholder you can make is a tin-can luminaria. Find an empty tin can—any size will do. Fill it almost full with water and then put it in the freezer. This step is so the can doesn’t dent while you’re hammering out the design.

While it’s in the freezer, draw a design on paper that you would like to put on the can, such as a star or a pumpkin. After the water has frozen, remove the can from the freezer and place your drawing over the can. (You might want to place plastic wrap between the paper and can so the melting water doesn’t ruin your design. You might also want to wear gloves because the can will get very cold and slippery.) Use a nail and a hammer to make holes along the outline of the design.

Once you have finished outlining the design, let the water melt and empty the can. Then paint or design your can in any way you would like, using acrylic craft paints. When you’re done, put some sand in the bottom of your can and place a candle in the sand. Remember, though, never to leave a lit candle unattended.

For Kids: Tag, You're It

One of the things I always dreaded about nighttime when I was younger was that it meant my friends and I had to come in from playing—until we figured out that wasn’t necessarily true. We discovered that some of the most fun activities we did took place once the sun went down.

For example, one of our favorite games was flashlight tag. In this game, one person is “it” and the rest of the people go and hide. The person who is “it” then has to use the flashlight to go and find where the others are hiding. When the person who is “it” finds someone, “it” flashes the light on him or her. That person then becomes “it.”

Another game you may want to play during this month of Halloween is Ghost in the Graveyard. If you’re not sure how to play, check the library or Internet for the rules.

In order to stay safe, while it is still light check out the area where you will be playing for any potential dangers, such as holes, clotheslines or lawn ornaments. And always remember to let an adult know where you are, and don’t wander too far from home.

 

Do you have ideas or suggestions for topics you'd like to see addressed in this column? If so, send them to me at “Faith-filled Family,” 28 W. Liberty Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202-6498, or e-mail them to Family@franciscanmedia.org.


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