I love the Advent season with all of its symbols. Garlands. Wreaths. Calendars. Creches. And lights.
A seven-foot tree reigns over my living room. Garlands wind their way up the stair railing and drape the fireplace mantel. Enter through my front door, and a nativity scene greets you in the entry. While I love all the greenery symbolizing my hope for eternity with God, and while the creche reminds me of the reason for Christ’s coming, it’s the lights that I focus on the most.
Jesus the Light of the world.
Candles grace every room in our house for the season. Old-fashioned, multi-colored bulbs encircle the tree casting its glow through the front windows. Since no lights adorn our property outside, I like to think that people driving by see the beauty shining inside.
My favorite symbol of light and life is the advent wreath, four candles in a forever circle surrounded by greenery. Mine has one pink and three purple tapers, and a white pillar sits in the center of the ring. While there are several traditions that assign meanings to each candle, I prefer what the Lutheran Church instituted long ago: faith, peace, joy, hope, and the white Christmas candle represents Christ’s love.
Every once in a while, we end up with a dud candle. For some reason, it smokes but won’t flame. I can fix it if I dig into the center with a knife, give the wick more length, and then scrape off the extra wax that smothered it.
The failure of the dud candle kindles some questions. Am I a smoking wick or a brilliant flame for Christ? Can people easily see the Light of Jesus in me and in my writing, or do I give off the smoky scent of a snuffed candle, desperately needing some painful work to be done on my heart?
Reflecting His Light
This advent season as we struggle against the whirlwind of political turmoil, pandemic, and Christmas busy-ness, let’s take some moments to reflect. Let’s make sure our wicks are trimmed, our flames burn bright, and that we are His Life and Light to each person we meet. Let’s make sure that every word we speak and every deed we perform somehow, some way, points to faith in Christ, to the peace that passes all understanding, to the joy of knowing Jesus, and to the hope in the Savior of the world.