John 1:5 – The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.
Christians mark the weeks of Advent with candles, one for each week until Christmas Day. For me, candles are a powerful symbol of Advent and the coming Christ.
Candles are simple; just some wax and a wick and you have light. Almost too simple, like deciding to enter our world, and coming as a new-born baby. Candles are simple enough anyone can understand and use them, the same as anyone can understand a baby.
For all their simplicity, candles work. One night some years ago, I was attending a meeting and there was a power failure. Candles and matches were at hand. When that first candle wick was lit, what a difference! One candle was enough to throw back the darkness to the furthest corner of that whole church hall. When other candles had added their light and our eyes had adjusted, we were able to carry on with the meeting. All the darkness in the universe can't smother the light of even one candle. In the prologue to his Gospel, John wrote "the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out" (John 1:5). Jesus is the Light that has come into this world. And oh, how we need that light. We need that hope.
There are all kinds of darkness in this world: the darkness of the season, dark economic and political news, and the darkness of strained relations between people. In all this darkness, Christ comes and brings light, love and hope. A doctor once told me that people from all backgrounds seem to cheer up when the city is decorated for Christmas. To Christians, this is more than just a season with pretty coloured lights. This is the season our Saviour comes.
Prayer: Oh Lord, in all the wintry darkness of our lives, You come and bring light and hope. We need it, but You know that because You came to be the light and hope for all humanity. The candles and lights of this season mean more than "cheer up." We rejoice because we await Your coming. Amen.