The Wreath: Part 4

As Lucy stepped around Xav’s toys and carried the old cardboard box into the dining room, she did not know that this would be the last year she would light the candles. The wreath was all built and ready, but she put it away each week so that it was less likely to get broken.

Once she placed the wreath out and lit the first three candles, she called out to her husband and son. “Jordan! Xavier! It’s time to light the last candle!”

“Yay!” Xav bounded into the room, arms outstretched like an airplane. He whirled around, circled the dining room table twice, then jumped onto his chair. “We wrapped the presents!”

“Did you?” Lucy bent over conspiratorially and whispered. “Were any of them mine?”

“I’m not supposed to say!” Xav dropped his voice to an excited whisper. “Yeah. Dad, let me wrap yours!”

“I won’t tell.”

“Hey, I told you that you weren’t supposed to say,” Jordan said as he walked into the dining room.

“I didn’t say anything,” Xav said, a guilty look crossing his face. “Let’s light the candle!”

Jordan gave Xav a playful scowl. “Fine, let’s light the candle.”

“Alright, calm down guys.” Lucy pulled out the lighter from her pocket.

“Can I light it?” Xav asked.

The way he asked it brought a flood of memories back to Lucy. She remembered being a kid and asking the same question every year. And now Xav was seven, just as she was when she asked her mother that same question in the same tone of voice.

“Actually, I think you are old enough.”

“Yay!” Xav squirmed a little, but stayed seated, showing how responsible he could be.

“You think so?” Jordan asked.

Lucy nodded. “Alright, Xav, I want you to remember that you can only use the lighter when an adult is helping, okay?"

He nodded.

She walked through the same warnings as her mother had. Then she showed Xav how to hold the lighter so the long tube was near the tip of the candle. “And then you gently squeeze this trigger. It’ll click and then the flame will start.”

Xav was watching intently. “Okay.”

She held out the lighter and let him hold it, her own hand just lightly guiding him. He held it by the candle and pulled the trigger twice. It clicked, but no flame came out.

“You need to hold down the top as well,” Lucy reminded him.

His little thumb pressed hard into the button, then he pulled the trigger again. The lighter clicked and a little flame started up. Xav stared at it in awe.

“Light the candle.” Lucy gently guided his hand closer to the wick.

The flame caught. He pulled the lighter back, letting go of the button. Blood rushed back into his fingers as Lucy took the lighter back.

“Now, time for our prayer,” she said.

Xav climbed onto Jordan’s lap and bowed his head.

“Dear God, as we light this final candle, we rejoice and give thanks for your coming into the world. As you shared your love with us, so help us to share our love with all those around us. Amen.”

“Amen.” Xav looked over at Lucy. “Mom, guess what we got you for Christmas.”

“You’re not supposed to tell her,” Jordan grabbed Xav, tickling his sides.

Xav burst out laughing, and Lucy began to tickle him as well. Soon, as the snow began to fall outside, they returned to preparing gifts, food, and decorations for Christmas day.

Though Lucy would see the candles lit for many more years, Xav would light them from then onward. Eventually, she would send him off into the world with the candles, to help spread the hope, peace, joy, and love of Christmas.
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