Tonight I am sitting in my room and reading a book. As a grad student, this is a rare occassion. Well, reading isn’t – reading for pleasure is. It’s the first novel I’ve read in two months, and I’ve been enjoying the simple act of reading, something that I have always loved. I just simply make no time for it anymore.
One of the most calming things about tonight is that I decided to light a candle. Again, I love candles, and lighting them is something I enjoy, but I just never seem to have the time to light one. If I even think of it, I usually need to leave sometime soon, so I know I’m gonna have to blow it out, so I just don’t light them much. But I did tonight, and it got me thinking.
For something that can be so dangerous, fire is truly beautiful. There are sometimes when fire can be a raging nightmare, and consume everything in its path. But when carefully watched, maintained, and fed, it can offer light and comfort. The flame from my candle is about an inch high, and it points straight up. Sometimes my breath catches in it, and it wavers, but it goes back to its steady stance and offers me warms and a relaxing aroma (not just the scent of the candle, but the smell of the flame itself).
Fire can be misused, such as arson, or it can lose control and devour helpless and harmless creatures, like a forest fire. But it can be used for so many good things too.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-19
I see our passion for Christ to be like fire. Much like my little flame, our faith can warm us and lighten our spirits. It can be used as a beacon when we are pummeled by the hardships that life throws our way, or it can be a small, quiet reminder of all that is bright in our world. When misused, our faith can cause others to be turned off by Christianity, or it can be the excuse for certain ways of thinking and acting. Our faith can consume us so that we may grow like the dead that is fertilized by the ashes of previous dead things, or it can take control so that we lose track of the reason for the faith to begin with.
And most importantly of all, no matter how small your flame is, you can always share it with someone else. If I take my candle to yours, then you will have a fire as well, and my fire won’t be diminished. From one flame grows another, and we both can enjoy the light. May we all join together with lighted candles and rejoice in the warmth from our Father.