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Today is the winter solstice, the day with the least amount of sunlight and greatest amount of darkness.  It is also the first day of winter, the third night of Hannukah and three days until Christmas.  With all that in mind, I have a story I’d like to share.

A young Jewish boy in Europe during the Holocaust days found a mirror broken in the street.  Taking the biggest piece, he smoothed the edges and carried it in his pocket.  When he was bored, he would take out his piece of mirror and amuse himself with the various reflections.  One day, he realized that he was not only seeing reflected images in the mirror, but also that he could reflect a spot of light to other nearby areas.

Throughout all the horrors of that time, this became a game to him: to try and get a ray of light into the darkest corners of wherever he was.  Others would join in, each trying to outdo one another with reflecting a spot of light into designated places.

As the boy grew older, he also grew in knowledge.  He realized that, in many ways, his life was like this piece of mirror – he, too, was called to reflect light in the world.  But not just any light.  In a dark world which was full of brokenness and shadows, he was called to reflect the loving light of God, illuminating the lives of those around him.  As a reminder, he never stopped carrying that piece of mirror in his pocket.

On this darkest day, in a season which makes it all too easy for others to hurt, as we proclaim the light of God come among us, may we all be a reflection of the light of God in a dark and hurting world.  Peace be with you, and let your light shine; may your holidays bring blessings!

-Jason Cashing, on behalf of the YAVA Leadership Council.

Each tea candle represents a YAV in current service