During this advent season I attended my very first Vespers service at my church and left with my heart lightened and a smile on my lips. Having only recently begun attending Sunday mass and participating in church, I had no idea what to expect at this evening prayer. I was content to watch and listen and follow along with my fellow parishioners. The overhead lights were dimmed so that the main source of illumination in the huge room was the flickering orange light of dozens of candles that burned silently on the altar. The floor to ceiling stained glass windows were back lit from the outdoor lights and glowed softly. The priest’s ringing tenor filled the space with psalms, prayers and reflection before the room settled into a reverent quiet as church goers knelt for a period of individual prayer.
All my irritations and stresses from the week melted away as I watched people make their way to the front of the church to light still more candles for their own prayer intentions. By the time the service was over and I was tiptoeing across the icy church parking lot, the altar wasn’t the only thing that was glowing. For the first time in weeks, I felt lighter than air as I started my car.
Peace be with you. May your days be bursting with joy and an excess of Christmas cheer.