Every Christmas at our church, the children’s department hands each family a Christmas activity bag. In it are all the supplies to make a Birthday Cake for Jesus. Cake mix, frosting, and a single birthday candle. Last Christmas the cake got made but the candle, well, it didn’t even get lit. My children are a bit too old for singing Happy Birthday to Jesus. So the lonely candle sat on the back end of the counter for a while. Then finally, I slid it into the utensil drawer to get it off the counter. That little white candle got buried under ladles, serving spoons and spatulas, essentially forgotten.
One day I wanted to light a Peach Bellini Candle to make our guest room smell wonderful. I used a toothpick to light it using the gas stove. But these new candles have three wicks in them. I wasn’t fast enough with the toothpick. Then I remembered the Jesus candle. Sure enough, it worked perfectly. I blew out the little candle and put it on the tile countertop to cool. Then tucked it away for its subsequent use. All year I have been using the Jesus candle to light the beautifully scented candles I love to have around the house.
Jesus’ candle lights my candle.
I was thinking about the spiritual significance of that. Jesus is the light. Without His light, I cannot shine my light. It takes His light to light my lamp.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying,
“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
We are reminded in scripture to cast off the works of darkness, do not live in spiritual darkness, live as people of the light, and let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Scriptures on light
“For once you were full of darkness,
but now you have light from the Lord.
So live as people of light!”
“You are the light of the world—
like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket.
Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand,
giving light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see
so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.“
They will praise who? Yes, our heavenly Father. Not us. We are too prone to pride. It’s all for Him and is the best way to keep the glory where it needs to be, so people will worship God and not us. I can’t remember when I wanted someone to worship me, but I have wanted someone to admire me, even if just a little.
Shine a light
Today my dear husband called me on his way to work. There was a major traffic jam. He needed me to find the best route. So, when I was trying to help him, he was stressed and challenging to support. God was with us both because I could find him a route that didn’t have any traffic. Soon he was on his way to work again.
In thinking about this in another way, he was on his road along his usual route to work. He ran into a problem. Now he’s in a dark place mentally (he doesn’t know a more efficient way to work) and emotionally (frustrated). He needs someone to light up this dark place and so he calls me. What does he need from me? He needs me to locate an alternate route and relay that information in a calm but clear voice. He needs me to be a light in his crisis, shining through the darkness he is experiencing.
Sometimes I am not light. When I am frustrated and not at peace, I don’t have Jesus’ light shining in me. During these times, my response is usually to point out all the darkness in others. When clearly scripture tells me “if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” Our focus should not be on someone’s current darkness but on shining a light so they can make their way out of the darkness. Jesus does cleanse our sins, but in the heat of a crisis is usually not the time to talk about any sinful behavior attached to difficult trials.
I like the way the Jesus Candle example lights a scented candle. When we are helping someone through a crisis, do we smell good? Sometimes we can provide light without being very nice about it. Helping others in that way keeps the situation difficult for everybody. Choose instead to be a light to others and live in the sweet fragrance of Jesus’ light, like the Jesus candle example.
John 8:12 ESV
Ephesians 5:8 NLT
Matthew 5:14-16 NLT