Candle glow brings light to darkness
"What has come into being with him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it." –John 1:3b-5 (NRSV)
Candlelight has an especially dear place in our worship at Christmas. The glow casts a warmth in the now, a longing and hope for what is to come. When we light a candle prior to a meal or a prayer, it is said that we invite and instill a sense of the sacred in each of us gathered there.
Darkness comes in many forms. It can be physical or emotional; even spiritual. Upon what manner of darkness would we hope for our candle, our prayer, to cast light? Do we pray for peace? Joy? An experience of the holy? What needs and opportunities in the world around us would our candles expose and illuminate?
I know that my fervent prayer is for economic justice. I long for relief from the increasing poverty faced by so many, and for some corresponding peace from the anxieties that are inherent in such poverty.
Upon what darkness do you need candlelight cast in your own life? Where are you most needing warmth? Joy? Sharing? Could lighting a candle as an invitation to prayer become a ritual of paying attention to the opportunities of this season?
The winter holidays are observed in the darkest time of the calendar year – Winter Solstice. As we share the gifts of Christmastime, perhaps we can make room for a new habit of lighting candles at home and in our community. Whether done figuratively or in reality, perhaps we’ll find a strong sharing and truly sense the holy within our midst.