Friday, December 20, 2019

A Smoking Wick or a Burning Flame?

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. Open my front door, and a nativity scene will greet 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. Some traditions use blue tapers; others use purple and pink. A white pillar, the Christmas candle, often sits in the center. My Advent wreath comes from Italy. A ring of crystal (more light!), and the Christmas candle is part of the circle. 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 Christmas busy-ness, let’s take some moments to reflect. Let’s make sure our wicks are trimmed, and that we are His Light to each person we meet.  Let’s make sure that every word we write somehow, some way, points to faith in Christ, to the peace that passes all understanding, to the joy of knowing Jesus, and to hope in the Savior of the world.

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