Worldwide Candle Lighting Day | JOY for Today

A single candle in the middle of utter darkness is the portrait of hope. No matter how dark our circumstances there is light that lives on. This Light is eternal hope that can live on in you - when you are ready to let it. At times JOY feels unachievable. Light a candle in your darkness. Watch the flame and hold on to hope that JOY will come again.

Darkness lit by a single candle. A verse overlay reads: And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." John 1:5 KJV. Worldwide Candle Lighting Day is December's 2nd Sunday.

JOY for Today Offerings:

Did You Know:

  1. Worldwide Candle Lighting Day's goal is to support families who grieve the loss of children? The Compassionate Friends organization began when Reverend Stephens (of England) connected two grieving sets of parents in the hopes that their shared experience might help the healing process. The parents deeply benefited from the connection and longed to lead others in similar situations to the healing balm they had experienced. The foundation spread to the United States where Worldwide Candle Lighting Day commenced as a way to signal the shared grief of families who have lost children. (National Today)
  2. Candles remain lit for an hour and create a wave of light around the world? The second Sunday of each December at 7 PM local time, families who grieve the loss of children light a candle and keep it lit for an hour. A wave of light can be seen around the globe as from time zone to time zone candles are lit in grieving homes. (Compassionate Friends)
  3. You can add your city to a national map of candle lighting events? To show that someone in your city will be hosting a candle lighting ceremony, SADS asks you to submit a short form and hosts the virtual map.  (
  4. The first observance was in 1997? It began as a small internet event but now unites thousands across the globe. (National Today)
  5. Every 10 minutes a parent in the United States loses a child? 50 percent of the children are less than one year old and 28% are between 16 and 20 years old. (Just Enduring)

We'd Love to Know:

If you associate candles with loss.

Wolfe Stew Connects

Why do children have to die? Why must a sweet, innocent, long-awaited child be torn from loving arms so soon? How can a God who is love allow tragedy such as this?

These are the hard questions.

I have never lost a child. I am not going to pretend to know your pain. Your pain is only yours and truly no one else can understand it - but God - and I hope, in time, you turn to Him.

Maybe the journey to answer our hard questions is the path to healing. This journey each of us must undertake in our own way, at our own pace, in the time He's prepared for us. 

I do not know the answer you need to hear, God does. I offer a soft voice of truth that I hope directs you to Your Loving Father.

  1. God cares about your sorrow. He is weeping with you. (John 11:35 and Matthew 5:4)
  2. God will never leave you - even when you are angry with Him. (Deuteronomy 31:8 and Exodus 14:14)
  3. God gave His only begotten son to us. He knows what it is to lose a child. (John 3:16 and Isaiah 53:3)
  4. God loves Your child even more than you do. Your child is being cared for. (Matthew 7:11 and Psalm 139:13-16)
  5. God longs for you to come to Him just as you are so He can bring you peace and JOY. (Matthew 11:28 and John 16:22)
Each Christmas, we celebrate the arrival of a child - the very child that God knew He would watch die. A time of immense joy for us but imminent grief for God. Yet, through this child God brought light to all the world as He continues to do through each of us who are led by His Spirit (Romans 8:14).

We light a candle with you this day to honor not only the light your precious child sparked but also the light you share as your flame shines on.

We bring before you our lives, God, pressed through hardships and refined by faith, so Your lamp will continue to burn in the darkness. We radiate hope for a new generation. 

Light your candle. 

In response:

  1. Consider the emotions you feel toward God right now. Turn to Him with them. Be vulnerable. Lay it all down at His feet. He can handle you; don't hold back.
  2. God knows we long for JOY. If you're ready to receive it, consider joining us in instruction with Jesus on persisting in His JOY, our GROWTH focus next week

Bible Verses and Quotes 

Bible Verses

  • "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Psalm 116:15 KJV
  • "He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3 MEV
  • "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you." Philippians 1:3 KJV
  • "You shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of olive pressed for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually." Exodus 27:20 MEV
  • "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." John 1:5 KJV


  • "The death of a beloved is an amputation" - C.S. Lewis
  • "He that lacks time to mourn, lacks time to mend." - Sir Henry Taylor
  • "To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die." - Thomas Campbell
  • "Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness." - Anne Frank 
  • "Do not worry if all the candles in the world flicker and die. We have the spark that starts the fire." - Rumi

We'd Love to Know:

Which verse or quote lights your flame of remembrance?


Activity Suggestions

These resources focus on talking about grief and trying times. Find a printable version at our Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Our Nephew's Suggestion:

Light a candle!
In memory of one who lingers in our hearts yet no longer walks on this earth, or as a reminder that light shines on even in the darkest of times.

Our Suggestions: 

Read a Book about Grieving

Utilize Grief Resources

Explore "Would You Rather..." Questions

  • Remember a challenging time alone or with a loved one?
  • Light a candle to honor a memory or look at pictures that portray it?
  • Write a song or draw a picture to describe your emotions?
These questions are unique to this post. If you would like three "Would You Rather...?" questions for every December day, download this Wolfe Stew PowerPoint.

Family Challenge

Give each member space to share the hardest moment of his or her life. After each memory is shared, light a candle, taking a silent moment to reflect on the pain endured and recognize there is hope even in darkness.

We'd Love to Know:

What helped/helps you handle loss?

We’re excited to share one more day with you and wish you JOY for Today and HOPE for Tomorrow. Come back next week for... Winter Solstice!

Fighting the Good Fight with You,

Red stew bowl with steam rising from top. Wolfe Stew crawled on front.

Find even more JOY for Today in our monthly calendars, holiday, and seasonal posts.


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