Advent Reading for November 30, 2021
by Don Muenzmay

Philippians 1:4-7
In all my prayers for all of you, I will always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…all of you share in God’s grace with me (NIV)

ONE CANDLE

There are at least fourteen references to the word candle, biblically known as lamps. Candles were a very important part of living for the Jews, Greeks and the Romans. They were used to light the banquet hall for the wealthy. The synagogues and temples were lit for special religious occasions. The candle was critical to light the way safely for those who had to move from one place to the next in the dark.
Through the ages, 3000 BCE until today, the “candle” has evolved…from a grass wick and animal fat to modern fabric type wick and paraffin in assorted colors, sizes and shapes, some with scents.
Have you ever walked from one location to another at night in your garden with a candle? It helped light your way. How about sitting on the porch enjoying the stars on a quiet summer night. Magically the candle seems to add solace and comfort to the setting. There are so many occasions where one candle has provided peace and joy for each of us. (It’s just not the same with a flashlight and the batteries are probably dead.) Paul must have felt that way when he wrote to the “church” in Philippi. He prayed with joy. He knew God’s presence was with the people of Philippi. Paul was their candle that was lighting that region of the world.
I hope you have been there when that good feeling comes about at Pine Shores Church on Christmas Eve at the lighting of the candles. The sanctuary lights are dimmed. SILENT NIGHT, HOLY NIGHT is played on the organ and the saints are gathered to sing. The solitary Christ Candle lights the sanctuary, then two new candles are brought to the flame. Now two flames are brought to ten and then to three hundred worshippers. Some wonderful feeling comes over each of us at that moment, a sense of joy, a sense of peace as the raised candles light the sanctuary like daylight.
So it must have been when Paul learned of the positive things going on in Philippi. Their receiving and sharing of the Good News filled Paul’s heart with joy.
Let us all continue to let our light shine as we tell the story of Jesus with joyful hearts.

Reflection Question:
What is your favorite candle memory?

Prayer:
Dear Lord, Let our light shine so it may become a beacon of love and joy this day and every day. Amen.