Darkness

 Popular Candlelight Christmas Eve Carol Service Canceled

“There will be no candlelight carol service at our church on Christmas Eve,” I told Ed yesterday. Of course, he has always said that candlelight services are popular because it is a way for everyone to play with fire at church.  I would have asked Ed if attending church services was prohibited at Melville, but he isn’t attending church except for the unavoidable funerals or weddings. Here at Chilliwack, there is no attendance at church services until after Jan. 8, 2021.

Christmas Eve services traditionally have been occasions of high church attendance. Will they be highly attended here, as they are streamed online this year? Will people light candles at home as they watch the service? For many, Christmas Eve Mass or Church services are a standing tradition even for the folks who do not always regularly attend Sunday Church Services.

Holding a lit candle in your hand needs care. One must pay attention because hot wax dripped on yourself burns. The candle’s flame is small but significant in the potential of catching clothes, church bulletins, hymn books, etc., on fire. In one sense, the candle is like holding a tiny, newly born baby in your hands. With any inattention, one could drop the baby. The baby is powerless but has great influence in distressing adults with its crying and fussing. Babies must be held with tender loving care. They are at our mercy. They are fragile. Babies cannot care for themselves or protect themselves. Hopefully, parents will care for and protect their babies with great love.

Love is an act of will. In the case of a baby, many acts of one’s will. Babies need to be fed and changed often. They need continual protection and help for years. They are well worth the investment of care and protection by their parents. It’s at Christmas that we celebrate that God has not given up on us, His creation. In the darkness of our brokenness by sin, He sent a healing and helping light. Jesus was given as a baby, born of Mary, conceived by the Holy Spirit, delivered in the town of Bethlehem. Jesus Christ was given in fulfillment of the promises of a Messiah or Savior and described as: “Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1)

We recognize light as beautiful and mysterious. It helps us see things. Jesus came as the light of truth about God, our origin, and our destiny. As light promotes growth and life, Jesus guides us through life to our heavenly home. Like sunlight, Jesus warns, comforts, and calms us. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) As daylight helps to prevent crime, Jesus dispels the darkness of evil. All the darkness in the world cannot put out the light of one candle flame. Jesus was not overcome by evil and death but overcame them both.

Many are saying that there is reason to hope with people being vaccinated for Covid 19. There are light and hope at the end of all sin, suffering, and death this Christmas. It is Jesus, the light of the world.

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Raymond Maher
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