Revd Jackie

Rev. Jackie Bullen

Christmas Gifts

Candle in the dark

We turn the corner each year on December 21st from the period of the year when the nights are getting longer and darker to the time when the days start to lengthen and the darkness appears to lift more readily. Although the calendar and the clock assure us this is happening, sometimes we don’t find it that easy to accept as the days can still seem so long and dull. The darkness can seem to take hold of life and cause us to feel less than we could.

We live in an era when light is more readily available than ever before. Streets in our communities are often lit, most homes have electric lighting and the communal places where we gather have signs which are lit up stating “open” and offer a welcome.

During the Christmas period in church, although we have the benefit of electric lights, we choose to use candles at many services and events. We light them for different reasons and with different intentions. The Advent and Christmas ring helps us to count down through the season, the altar candles which are lit for times of worship remind us that Jesus is the light of the world and it is our responsibility to take that light out to the dark places.

The votive candle is lit each day to remind us of God’s constant love and care for us all and from it we can light candles as prayers for those we love and for ourselves. Candles are used to celebrate, to remember, to pray and to focus our attention to name just some of the reasons.

But, whatever moves us to light them, we always achieve the same result – that warm glow of soft light which is a living thing. No matter the size, shape, scent or location of a candle, the flame is the reason for its existence and its crowning glory. Unlit, it is not fulfilling its purpose. The smallest, faintest candle sheds light even in the darkest of places, and the darkness has never overcome it.

Christians are called to look for the light at the end of the tunnel even in the darkest situation. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that and helped by others to turn our attention from the darkest of days towards the light which is coming and which will bring with it renewal of life.

My prayer is that at this time of year we encourage one another to focus on the light that cannot be extinguished, Jesus, the light of the world.

God Bless.