Tuesday, December 19

Burning Brightly

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." --John 8:12 (NIV)

After three long weeks cooped up in a hospital with only a tiny (and not particularly inviting!) shower, I longed for an uninterrupted time of peace and solitude soaking in a nice hot bathtub. This private occasion called for a little mood lighting, so I gathered what few candles we had lying around. There was just one problem...we didn't have any matches or a lighter.

How could I light those candles without matches or a lighter? My first attempt involved turning on one of the gas burners on the stove and setting the end of a wooden shish-kabob stick aflame. That seemed to work. Gingerly I brought the flame over to the first candle and experienced a great sense of accomplishment when it lit immediately.

I turned around and was about to proceed to the bathroom when I encountered another problem. The candles were lit, but how was I going to carry them up the stairs without letting the wicks become snuffed out my my forward motion? Three times I attempted to reach the bathroom, and three times I was unsuccessful. So much for for a candlelit evening in the tub.

A life spent without Jesus is like trying to keep a candle lit in a strong breeze. There are things that can be done to shelter the flame for awhile, but eventually it will die out leaving behind nothing more than a piece of charred string and the stench of smoke. No matter how many times a person gets the flame going, there's precious little that will be able to sufficiently fuel it and keep it burning. Like my attempts to carry a burning candle up the stairs, such a life is a lesson in futility.

Jesus is the light of the world. His light never flickers, never fades, and never dies out no matter how strong the wind. Following Him is the only way for us to burn brightly. Walking the path of light with Him not only allows us to see things illuminated that we may have otherwise missed, but the path He leads us on is the path to eternal life. This is something I know I will remember when the last advent candle is lit this Christmas. Jesus, the light of the world stepped down into the darkness and gave us light.

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