Traditional Unitarian Universalist Candle Light Service

On Christmas Eve, we will have a 10:00 a.m. Intergenerational service. Then, we will host two traditional Unitarian Universalist Candle light services, one at 4:00 p.m. (family friendly) and one at 7:00 p.m. (with our East Shore Choir!)

The origins of this traditional Unitarian Universalist candle lighting service can be traced to the early 1900s in New England and to much earlier antecedents in Europe. Dana Greeley, former president of the UUA, brought this service to First Parish in Concord during the 1970s. Jim Robinson, Dana’s ministerial intern, brought it from Concord to First Parish in Brewster, MA where Elaine was Jim’s ministerial intern. She has carried the tradition to each congregation she has served since 1991.

Our chalice, “The light of the Ages,” represents divine light, The Spirit of Love, which animates all of life and the universe, is an understanding foundational to our Universalist heritage. The Light of Love shone brightly in the life of Jesus, inspiring people everywhere to allow this same light to shine brightly in their lives. The understanding of Jesus as a human being who demonstrated the fullness of human potential, is at the heart of our Unitarian heritage.

The light from the chalice is passed to the first candle representing the baby Jesus, traditionally lit by the youngest child in the congregation.

From the Jesus candle, the light is passed to a row of candles representing his disciples and followers. Usually ministers and individuals studying for the ministry light these candles. The light is then passed to a row of candles representing teachers and parents who continue to pass the light of wisdom and compassion to succeeding generation; volunteers and staff in the Religious Education programs traditionally light these candles.

The light is then passed to a row of candles representing the children of the world, our hope for the future. Youth carry the Light to the four corners of the congregation where it is spread candle by candle, hand by hand, and heart by heart throughout the sanctuary. When the entire sanctuary is filled with light, the candles are raised illuminating the sanctuary with The Light of Love.