Tonight marks the 17th Worldwide Candle Lighting service to honor the memories of children who have died. Lighting begins at 7:00 pm local time and continues for an hour. It starts in New Zealand and circles the globe one time zone after another creating a virtual 24-hour wave of light. This is believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on earth. Bereaved parents all over the world will be lighting candles to remember their beloved children. Some will do it in the quiet of their homes; others will come together in candle lighting ceremonies.
The timing of the candle lighting is quite deliberate. We are now officially in the midst of the holiday season, and that is a painful time for families who have lost a child. Whether it's an empty place at the table, a stocking that is no longer hung or just the glaring omission that someone is missing, holidays can be tough. Tonight we make sure to honor and remember those children who are no longer here. Their memories continue to be a blessing to us.
Tonight when we light a candle for Matthew, we will also be lighting a candle for all those who have passed too soon. Below is a list of names of children I have heard of over these past three years (I apologize if I've missed someone). I will be thinking of them and their families when we light our candle:
The 20 young victims of Newtown