This is Pastor Tim’s article which appeared on the Evening Leader on Monday, Dec 6, 2021.
During yesterday’s church services, congregations all over the world lit the second Advent candle, the candle of peace. I don’t know if there is a more appropriate candle for us to light at a time like this. We barely had a chance to comprehend the terrorist attack on the Christmas parade in Waukesha, WI by a deranged lunatic, and now a kid brought a gun to school in Oxford, MI and killed three of his classmates, physically wounded 8 more and emotionally wounded countless others. I think that lighting the candle of peace was more than appropriate.
But what does a small flame on the end of a purple candle mean in the face of such horrendous tragedies? I only named 2 incidents of national significance. There are plenty of other tragedies I could name, and I haven’t even gotten to more local hardships or even personal hardships that many of us face. I have been having trouble sleeping even here lately because of some situations that keep me up at night, and I know that I am not alone. There are many of you perhaps even reading this article who are awake with me because your mind is consumed with something going on in your life. Someone you love, someone you miss, something you regret, something you want. That list could get really long. And what do we do? We light a purple candle the second Sunday of Advent and declare it to be the candle of peace. What does that candle do to shed light on all of the darkness we witness every day?
The reason we light the candle of peace is because of the nature of light. I want to remind you that light is an unstoppable force once it is lit. Darkness cannot overtake light. As long as that candle burns, the darkness must flee from it. Even on the darkest night, that candle will still give light. Darkness is powerless in the presence of light.
In fact, the only way you can stop light is you must extinguish the source. If you flip the light switch off, darkness will overtake the room immediately. If you blow out the candle, darkness sweeps in instantaneously. But as long as the candle burns, there is nothing the darkness can do about it.
Yes, I know that lighting a single candle in response to the nightmare scenarios that we are all way too familiar with seems like a cynical exercise in futility, but you must understand the purpose of the candle. It is to remind us that no matter how dark it gets, the source of our peace still exists. We live in a broken world where darkness exists and sometimes that darkness finds its way into our lives. However, the darkness can only shade the areas of your life where you refuse to ignite the light. Peace is a choice and if you want to know peace in the midst of the darkness of this world, then you must make the choice to light the light. That candle cannot light itself, only you can do that. If you allow that light of peace to go out in your life, then darkness will sweep in like a tidal wave.
If you are waiting to light the candle of peace in your life until you have peace, that is like waiting to turn on the lights until the sun comes up. Light does the most good in the darkest of places, and the longer you leave the candle of peace unlit in your life, the more darkness you will have. There will come a day when the light of Christ will light up the whole world in a good way, and we will go to a place described in Revelation 21 as having no death, sorrow, crying or pain. At that time, there will be no room for darkness. But we don’t live in that world…yet. Until we do, a single candle may be the source of our peace. Remember though, that candle will not light itself. Not only do you have to be willing to light it, but you have to care for it because if that light goes out, darkness will immediately sweep in.
It may not seem like much, but a purple candle was lit in church yesterday that represents peace. That candle has hopefully been extinguished in your church for safety reasons. But what about in your life? Does the candle of peace still burn? It is the only way to keep the darkness of this world away.