The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
– John 1:5
This past Sunday, we lit the third of the Advent candles, the Christ candle. I was struck by the smallness of the flame. This one candle couldn’t come close to lighting our sanctuary. The tiny flame barely gives enough light to read by without serious eye strain. Watching the candle flickering, as if it were boxing some unseen power, trying to snuff it out, I wondered, “What’s the point?”
What difference is one candle going to make in a world so filled with darkness? In the presence of so many enemies who seem determined to destroy any and all light? It would only be a matter of time before the candle would go out and the world would seem even darker than before.
Then it hit me.
The candle isn’t fighting back the darkness. That battle was fought on another day—when the world could not stop Christ from being born. That battle will be finished on another day—when Christ returns and destroys death and darkness once and for all.
So, why do we light the candle?
– We light the candle so they can see our faces and know we are still here. So they will come close, and we will listen to their stories and know their names.
– We light the candle so they will come closer and know there is still hope. They will discover that darkness doesn’t rule everywhere.
We light the candle of hope, and like the prophets before us, we wait.
We light the candle, huddled close together and we wait until He comes—grateful for the light of our candle and its silent testimony that it’s not dark everywhere.
Soon the light will be revealed and darkness shattered, if we are patient. If we do not give up hope. If we make sure the candle stays lit.