"Tis the Advent season and that means a lot of things to many people. I wasn't raised with an Advent tradition so I have much to learn to catch up in this area, but I do know that it often has candles connected to it. A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about candles for some reason and here's what came to mind.
When we are born again we are lit and when we die the candle goes out- or does it? For most of us we are a long burning candle. The Bible talks about being like grass which grows and then is gone quickly and if you have read this blog you know that I think that life goes very fast- I mean just yesterday we had our first baby and now we're grand parents. But if you think about life as a candle then these are long burning ones.
The purpose of a candle is very specific. Using a candle as a hammer is a bad idea, or as a utensil to cut something is pretty futile. It really is only good for one thing and that is to give off light. If we take the analogy further, our candle is lit when we are born again and it goes out when we die and in between there are times when it needs to be trimmed and the extra wax taken off or the light is dimmed because the wick is covered with melted wax. There are times in our lives when we give off more light than others, but we are still giving off light.
In Sunday school as a little kid many of us sang "this little light of mine". Unfortunately as adult there are many who do hide their light under a bushel. So we have a light that could be shedding light into the world but before we leave the house we cover it up and then it stays covered until we return home.
The world needs our light to shine into the darkness. Jesus was the Light that the Jews anticipated and as He came and lived, His light grew brighter as He grew. The prophets foretold of this coming Light and yet so many missed His coming. In our life His light shines into our heart and lights our spiritual candle so that we might in turn spread the Gospel and take the fire that lit us and light the next generation of lights.
A large room with one candle off in the corner is not very bright. A large room with 20 candle should be much brighter than it is with one, but only if those 20 candles are trimmed and allowed to shine freely, without a "bushel" over them. As the light is added to more and more candles the effect should be much more light shining throughout the world. Remember that all we are is the wick and wax and His light is what is actually shining. "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
He lit our hearts on fire while our hearts were cold and dark. Now we can take that same light and touch the wick of another and transfer that fire to others. Again, not our fire, not our light. We should be excited to pass on the light to others knowing what our hearts were previously. We should not be willing to cover our lights.
So, let us keep our light trimmed and burning bright, let us be quick to gather with other lights to increase the lumens we collectively put off, let us be quick to share the light with those who are currently dark and may God grant us many years of shining into the darkness.
To answer the question of "Does our light go out when we die?". If we have not passed on the light to others then it seems like it does. But if we have passed it on then that light continues to burn long after we are in Heaven. This can be done in many ways. Some lights continue to burn because of the heritage of multiple generations of believers in the family. Some lights are burning because of work done throughout the lifetime here on earth; such as Luther, Calvin, Baxter and the likes. I included Baxter because he didn't necessarily leave the same kind of light as the other 2, but he certainly left a light.
God doesn't gift us all the same way but we all have the same light in us and it is our responsibility and privilege to spread that light as we go; to make disciples. Making disciples will ensure that the light in us is burning for generations to come. Give your light to someone today.