Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lighting Candles

Psalm 119:105 (King James Version)
105Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

John 1:5 (New International Version, ©2010)
5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Lighting candles at this time of year seems especially meaningful. Many Christians light candles on an Advent wreath to mark the four weeks until Christmas. Often they include a white candle in the center of the wreath to symbolize Christ, the Light of the world. Tonight gather family or friends around a table on which you have placed a large candle, and provide a candle for each person. Sit in darkness for a moment; then as someone lights the central candle, say, “You [Jesus] are the Light of the world, and we take our light from you.” After each person lights a candle from the central candle, invite everyone to name places in the world or situations where light is needed. After each place or situation is named, all may raise their candles and say, “Light of the world, chase away the darkness.”

- Larry Peacock
Openings

From p. 380 of Openings: A Daybook of Saints, Psalms, and Prayer by Larry James Peacock. Copyright © 2003 by Larry James Peacock. All rights reserved.

I love the play of flickering light from a candle upon the walls and reflected from mirrors. Sometimes when I have difficulty sleeping I like to sit at the dining table and light a candle and meditate and pray. It seems to help me focus. There is no particular religious significance to it, only that of helping me to calm down, focus and simply ‘be still’. I can literally feel my blood pressure lowering when I do this.

I think too, that when I snuff the candle out and the smoke rises, that it represents my prayers – rising from my lips to the realms of heaven. I love the references in the Bible that describe our prayers as being incense that rises up to the throne of heaven.

May our prayers, the incense we offer be holy and pure. May they not contain the stench of hatred and evil, but seek for the good of others. May we, especially at this time of year, remember to exemplify peace on earth and goodwill to and for all. ~Amen!

~Tamara