La Salette Shrine in Attleboro.
For those who haven't been there, there is a shrine where you can buy a candle, say a prayer, and leave the candle lit. My understanding is that the prayer is supposedly repeated for the duration of that flame's life, though I may be wrong, it's been a very long time since it was explained to me.
Outside of the shrine is a very large piece of land that includes a pond in the middle. Around the pond is a walkway that has the stations telling the story of Jesus, as they have in the Catholic churches, but on a much larger scale.
They decorate the entire grounds with lights around Christmas. It's quite a spectacle. So many lights are lit, that it's like walking around in the middle of the day.
Now, personally, I am not a very religious person, though I am very spiritual. I grew up Catholic. I was an alter boy for almost 10 years. However, I've always felt like my connection with god was a little more personal that I was taught. I'm not going to get into my whole view on religion, it's one topic I'm usually very careful with, but I will say I am familiar with Catholicism, and I respect anyone's right to follow whatever religion he or she chooses. I do not claim to know better, nor do I judge.
At the end of December, around the 26th I believe, we took a trip out to the shrine, brought along the kids and we met some friends out there. We walked the area, looked at lights, froze our butts off, had some hot chocolate. We into some areas where they had small scale models of whole cities and little figurines for sale, and it was really quite nice.
When we were done, my wife and I went into the shrine and bought a pair of candles. We lit them, and placed them in their glass holders next to each other, and we silently said our prayers. It was peaceful, serene, and comforting.
When we were done, we turned to leave and found our four year old blowing out the candles in the lowest row.
As a person who grew up Catholic, I nearly choked...
As a man of reason, I have to believe God has a sense of humor... I mean, just look at the platypus. I mean, know all about Egypt's first born sons, and the great flood and all, but I think he mellowed with age, he was much nicer in the new testament.
As a father, I was rather disappointed in myself for not having seen that one coming. Was another "What are you, new?!" moments... and yes. yes she was.