"The sunlight slow is dwindling
My little lamp needs kindling
It shines so bright in darkness night
Dear lantern guard me with your light."
Our preparations for Martinmas began last week with the making of new
lanterns, learning some new songs and verses, and talking about our own
inner light and how we can share it with others through
acts of kindness and love. On Saturday afternoon we gathered with
friends for a lovely lantern walk in the woods. As we walked, we sang
our lantern song, chatted, and enjoyed time together in the beauty of
nature. Following our lantern walk, everyone came back to our home where I shared a lovely story
about tending our inner light through the long, dark, cold days of
winter, and then we enjoyed a delicious potluck dinner, wonderful
conversation, and lots and lots of fun play among the kiddos. Coming
together with other families to celebrate this festival was truly
wonderful, and I was filled with so much gratitude as I looked around
our home at everyone there.
you are not familiar with Martinmas, it is the story of St. Martin. St.
Martin was a soldier in Rome in the 4th
century. Legend says that one wintery night he met a poor beggar,
half-naked and freezing. Martin removed the heavy military cloak from
his shoulders and, drawing his sword, cut it in two, and gave half to
the beggar. That night, Christ appeared to Martin in a dream, wrapped in
the same piece of cloak Martin had given the beggar, and said: “Martin
has covered me with this garment.” Martin became the patron saint of
beggars, drunks and outcasts, dedicating his life to assisting the
unfortunate and downcast. Martinmas celebrates his kindness, compassion
and selflessness. Lanterns are a traditional part of the celebration as a
reminder of the light that shines in each and every one of us, and that
we must share and spread this light.
Martinmas falls on November 11, also Remembrance Day in Canada. Over the years it has become our family tradition to be present at our local cenotaph for the Remembrance Day ceremony honouring those who have fought, and those who continue to fight, for this life we are so blessed to lead. We then head to the grocery store to buy food for the food bank in the spirit of St. Martin. This year, instead of food, we decided to buy hats and mitts, and yesterday they were delivered to a local non-profit organization that supports young mothers.
Martinmas is a beautiful festival that speaks to me on so many levels. As the years go by, I know Reece will develop a deeper understanding of its meaning, and my hope is that he comes to truly understand how beautiful his inner light is and that he will let it shine bright on those who need it most.