"The sunlight slow is dwindling
My little lamp needs kindling
It shines so bright in darkness night
Dear lantern guard me with your light."
Yesterday we celebrated Martinmas with a lantern walk in the woods with our friends. We took time during our homeschool days this week to make our lanterns, I shared the story of St. Martin, and we talked about our own inner light, and how we can shine it out into the world. To say I would love this festival would be an understatement, it is one of my favourite festivals and I look forward to it every year.
If 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 wintry 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.
I love sharing this festival with children, reminding them they have an inner light, and that by shining and sharing their inner light, and being kind to others they can change the world, one kind act at a time. In honour of St. Martin my little man and I went shopping for hats and mitts to share with children in need. A small gift that we hope helps to keep them warm this winter.
Martinmas falls on November 11, also Remembrance Day here 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. It was a chilly day, but the sun was shining, and standing there with my little man, celebrating the bravery of so many Canadians, warmed my heart.
This week, for many, has been tough. There is a lot of uncertainty, and fear, but I know one thing for sure...we can never go wrong by sharing our inner light with others, offering love and kindness to all people, and remaining hopeful that goodness and love will prevail. Hang in there, my friends, and let your inner light shine, it will, without a doubt, light up the darkness and lead us forward to a better place.