Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Glowing Candles

Ancient Faith Publishing has just released a beautiful new picture book, In The Candle's Glow, by Elizabeth Crispina Johnson, illustrated by Amandine Wanert.  I can guarantee it will warm your heart...

Felicia will light her candle, pray, and watch as a breeze carries the wisp of smoke from her candle flame up to heaven along with her prayers.  But where did the candle come from?  The story begins with a breeze, some bees, and a beekeeper (who happens to be a singing nun!)

While preparing for this post, I began thinking about all the symbolism associated with lighted candles and why in the Orthodox Church our candles are made from pure beeswax. I came across from very enlightening information that I'd like to share with you.

Blessed Simeon of Thessalonica (15th century), a commentator on the Liturgy, wrote about six things that candles symbolize for us...
1. The pure wax (bees wax) of a candle reminds us that our hearts should be pure.

2. The softness and pliability of wax speaks of our readiness to obey God.

3. We are reminded of the sweet aroma of God's Divine Grace in our souls because the wax comes from fragrant flowers.

4.  The burning of the candle as it mixes with and feeds the flame represents man’s deification, his becoming a new creature through the fire of God’s love.

5. As the candle lights the darkness, so must the Light of Christ shine before men in our hearts.

6. Lastly, it symbolizes the love and peace that should characterize every Christian, because the wax that burns down when it illuminates, is like our love for our fellow man; but it also comforts man with its light in the darkness.

Today I'd like to dedicate my post to two gentle men whose lives glowed like bright candles, with the Light and Love of Christ for those around them.  Like wisps of smoke that rise after a candle is blown out, they left us this month (which ironically began with Candlemas on the 2nd) to move heavenward.

During an Orthodox funeral service, as well as at memorial services, the faithful stand with lit candles as a sign that the deceased's soul has left this world and entered the Kingdom of Heaven and the Unwaning Light of God.

Ray was 93 years young and lived a long life, taking tender loving care of his wife for many years before she died.  This precious man missed her dearly ever since, and finally went to join her a couple of weeks ago.  I enjoyed countless visits with both him and his wife.  He was our "bell-ringer" at church - letting us know each Sunday when our Priest was ready to give the blessing for our food at coffee hour!

I was not able to attend Ray's funeral, because the day before it I got the devastating news of a second death...

Kevin (who happens to be the brother-in-law of my sister) was 33 years too young to die, but left this earth last week after a brave fight with cancer. He and his wife Angel, in true warrior fashion, started "Packed Kits" after his wife's sister sent him an amazing care package to help get him through his hospital stays.  The kits are based on her original care package and contain everything a chemo patient could need during treatment.  Please visit their website, and consider "Giving Pack" to help fight cancer!
Packed Kits

Please light and candle and send up prayers for the souls of these two men - and for their families.  And share In The Candle's Glow with a child you love!


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Jane. Kevin and my son David were ring bearers in my sister's wedding. This still just doesn't seem real.

  2. This is a beautiful post. I've never heard of the lighting of candles at a funeral, but it seems so fitting. I would be interested in reading this book.

  3. That looks like a nice book, thanks for sharing!