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It is so interesting that we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in the middle of winter, when darkness comes early. For thousands of years, God’s people lived in darkness, waiting. John called Jesus “the light of men” (John 1:4) and “the light in the darkness” (John 8:12). 

I will never forget the year we walked into a dear family’s home and there, burning in the evening was this beautiful, giant drip candle. Every time we visited their home, we would see their family and their guests gathered around the candle, dripping candlesticks and sharing stories of the power of the Gospel and the faithfulness of Jesus. My husband and I always knew we wanted to start the tradition of having a central place every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas to slow down, pause, reflect, ponder, think about, a space to listen and testify about the work of Jesus. We want our boys to hold insights into Jesus, not a blur of ridiculous toys and games they receive each year.  

Three years ago we made a deliberate choice about how we would celebrate the Christmas season. In the weeks before Christmas, each night we walk through the journey of Advent – seeing Jesus prophesied and proclaimed in God’s Word, we talk through the Nativity scene and we gather around our candle and share stories of the goodness of God and the faithfulness of Jesus. As my boys invite their friends into our home, they invite them to drip on our candle. Last year, Zander (our 12-year-old son), invited his friend to drip on our candle and he asked, “What is this for?” and my son answered, “It’s to remind us about Jesus”. Every guest that enters my home during this season is welcome to drip with us. Many stories have been shared and the Good News of Jesus continues to captivate our hearts.  

The more intentional we are as a family in celebrating the who, what and why we celebrate Christmas, it slowly shifts our focus from counting down the days until presents arrive to celebrating Christ’s coming.

Here is what my drip candle looks like after three years (on the left) and the pic on the right is my dear friends drip candle after being burned for 30 years. (Can you fathom the stories and insights about Jesus that have been represented here? Whoa!)

How to start your very own family drip candle:


  • Empty sparkling grape juice or apple juice glass bottle
  • Sturdy wooden base (you can paint it – mine is a circle base from Lowes)
  • Wood glue to glue the bottle to the base
  • Bright colored drip candle sticks
  • Lighter or matches

Before we started this tradition, we set boundaries with our boys about fire safety and respect.  They do not drip on the candle without an adult present.

Here are some Scriptures that can be printed and discussed as you begin your drip candle:

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” – 1 Peter 2:9 

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” – Psalm 119:105

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12

“The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” – Psalm 119:130

May Jesus be glorified in your family this Christmas season.

Marianne Howard
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