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A Miracle of Advent Candles

by Madeleine Hogue Rabideau

Many years ago I was teaching a fourth grade religion class and preparing them for the Advent and Christmas season. I went to an area Five and Dime store looking for fresh candles for my wreath.

Now some people don't think God takes care of small insignificant details such as helping me find the right size candles, but I know He does.

I felt blessed to find the last candles in the right colors and in the same size. I hurried to the cash register excited that - in all the places I had looked - I had finally found a set of three purple and one pink candle all exactly the same height.

This had NOT been a good day for me so far. Things had been going wrong all morning. I had been so frustrated. Now my mood was lifted and I was happy to see two of the Sisters from the area convent standing in line with me.

We were chatting, as we waited, when I noticed they had also come for Advent candles. Only, the candles they had were of different sizes.

There I was clutching my equal and beautiful candles as I approached the clerk ready to make my purchase. Guilt started to rear its ugly head as I reached for my wallet and looked for the amount on the register. "I should give them the equal sized candles," my conscience said.

Embarassment added to my guilt as I realized I didn't have enough cash. I reached for my credit card but they wouldn't accept it for such a small purchase. I had to have at least $10.00 in items to use it. Now I reached for my checkbook.

My face was approaching crimson. NO, there wasn't a single blank check left. I hadn't had time to check it before I left that morning. Everything was going wrong. I remembered that I hadn't even stopped to pray that morning. More guilt. I don't even deserve to ask God for help.

Quickly one of the Sisters came to my aid, offering the remaining cash I needed to buy my "perfect candles". I wanted the candles for the next day's class and had no other opportunity to get them before then. So I graciously accepted her help on the condition that she would accept the candles I had for that would match hers. So we made the exchange and were both happy.

Now I was ready for class with uneven Advent candles but very grateful for the Sister's help. My attitude had changed. On the way home I sang and thanked God for the good Sister and her generous offer. I would repay her the next day before class.

Arriving at home I swooped up my purchases and headed for the house. In my haste, I lost my grip on the bag with the candles in it. "CRACK"!! I heard the sound, as it hit the ground. I cried out "OH NO, what will I do now!". I thought sure the candles were all broken to pieces. My mood was beginning to sour again.

I hurried into the house to check them but to my surprise the only ones that were broken were the taller ones. I examined them closely and couldn't believe my eyes. They had broken off at the bottom and were exactly the same size as the others!! Who'd have thought candles would break off evenly, at their thickest end?

Immediately I turned my head to heaven and whispered a prayer of thanks. I not only had what I needed for my class I also had a story of how much God cares for us. Even when we forget Him He is there and cares about the things that are important to us no matter how small and insignificant they may seem to others. I will never forget that day, and the Miracle of the Advent Candles.

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