For you are my lamp, O Lord, and my God lightens my darkness. 2 Samuel 22:29

About 26 years ago I proposed to Nancy. I asked her to be my wife and, as you’ve probably already figured out, she said yes!

I was renting a room in St. Louis, getting my life back on track and preparing to go back to seminary. I tried to make the proposal very special.

I set up a specific day and time. I bought a ring. I picked out the perfect music – the love theme to the Princess Bride by Mark Knopfler.

And I bought some candles.

Candles have been around for millennia. They provide light. They can provide some warmth. But most importantly (to me, at least) they provide a feeling. They provide an atmosphere or a setting.

There’s nothing quite like candlelight. It is warm and inviting. To me, it feels like home and love and family.

Not like the stark, white light of fluorescents that seem to suck the life right out of you!

Wax or oil candle light also has a special place in God’s heart.

When God gave Moses the plans for the Tabernacle, there was a specific plan to illuminate the inside of the tent. Called the “holy place” it would be somewhat dark in there, even during the day time. In here the priest would burn incense and say prayers for his people.

The lampstand would give light to the priest as he prayed to God on behalf of the people of God.

In this darkened room, in the glow of flickering flames, the priest prayed to God.

Today, I need illumination to speak to God. My sin darkens my soul and dims my eyes. In this world the darkness of sin infects all people.

But I – and all of us – have the opportunity of illumination. Jesus Christ is the light of the world and removes our sin through his shed blood on the cross.

He brings life and light back to us. We can now confidently pray to God and, through Jesus, we will be heard!

Candles are a powerful symbol of this truth. That’s why most churches have candles in their sanctuaries.

They are no longer needed to light the room. But they are symbols of the true illumination we have in Jesus Christ.

In the sanctuary of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois – where I am currently an associate pastor – we have numerous candles that all symbolize Christ and his gifts to us.

There are seven candles on either side of the altar that symbolize that Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Church – the symbol coming from Revelation 1.

There are also two candles on the altar and when they are lit, they represent the body and blood of Jesus. These are called the “Eucharistic Candles.”

in-the-church-3-paschel-candleAt the baptismal font there is one, large candle and this represents Christ himself. This is usually called the “Paschal Candle” (although it can also be called the Christ Candle). The word paschal comes from the Hebrew word for “Passover.”

Jesus is our Passover Lamb to takes away the sin of the world.

in-the-church-1-advent-candlesIn the Advent Season we have four candles in a wreath. The four Advent Candles represent what Christ came to bring us – love, hope, joy, and peace.

There’s nothing quite like candlelight. It sets a mood, it creates an atmosphere.

But it also points us to Jesus Christ who is the light of the world and in whom we have light and life.

©2017 True Men Ministries


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