Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Candles!

Being a Christmas Elf myself, every year at Christmas time I always admire the families who display candles in their windows. They are so beautiful and the soft glow is reminiscent of warmth and peace. Even Alabama, that great country band also wrote of this in their song, "Just a Candle in the Window."  In their words, "It's like God's perfect light!"  But I must admit, Christmas Candles have become to onerous for me to deal with. I love their look, I love their light, and I love the mood they can cast. But, I can never keep up with them! If they are real wax candles I forget to light them or I forget to blow them out. I also worry about them burning down the house. Then there are the battery types. Oh boy, just another item I have to put batteries in or shall I say, forget to put batteries in. Then there are the corded types. Place them in the window and often the cord is so heavy it pulls the candle out onto the floor! So as you can see, I am not a fan of using them at Christmas as much as I am watching others have all the fun.

But as I think about how difficult it can be for me to get the candles lit up, while others seem to have no problem, one thing I know for sure is that being a "light" for Christ in the world is something we should never get frustrated over and give up! God's mercy is so great that the Apostle Paul could state with confidence, "Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more" Rom. 5:20. Jeremiah, despite all of the troubles he endured for the sake of obedience to the Lord also wrote, "This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness" Lamentations 3:21-23 NKJV.

We have a really hard time trying to grasp the meaning of this. It just does not line up with our inate ability to put up with hardship or struggle ourselves. We seem to be so finite in our humanity. But that is where we fail--that is where we miss the point. We try to bring God down from heaven to be like us instead of us setting our sights on heaven to be like Him. I often get so frustrated with those who want to rain on God's party by trying to tell me His love is really not that deep, it is really not that wide, and it is really not that infinite. No they do not say it in those words. They say it in phrases such as, "You know you can lose your salvation, don't you?" Really, if I become a child of God He can disown me? What I am being asked to accept is that family ties on earth are greater than those in heaven. I certainly cannot disown my children on earth; they're mine by blood! It was the blood of Christ that brought me into God's family and it is the blood that will keep me in it, 1 Cor. 10:16; Eph. 2:13; Heb. 9:22, 10:19, 13:20; 1 Pet. 1:18-19. Here is another, "Be careful, you do not want to commit the unpardonable sin!" Oh no! What is that? Have I already committed it? Should I throw in the towel? The Bible is pretty clear when this is mentioned that it is in the context of attributing the works of God to Satan, cp. Mt. 12:24-37. I am sure I am free of that one. But the toughest one of all--the one that makes me stumble in faith is this, "He cannot disown us, but we can disown Him." The implication being, having freely become part of the family of God, we can freely walk away at any time. But doesn't the Bible teach we were, "bought at a price"? cp. 1 Cor. 6:20, 7:23

The point being we will often struggle with the things of earth; even to the point of throwing things away or walking away from things that hurt. Just like the stubborn, very needful, Christmas Candles can frustrate us, so can our walk with God if we try to live it on our terms. If we view it as being our work to handle, our work to keep, then by all means we can walk away. But being part of a family means somebody else did and does the work. Thank God He does not give up on us, though we may frustrate Him, He still works to mold us into His image, Heb. 12:7.

This Christmas strive be a light for Christ! Let your light shine! Not because it is your light but because it is His light that truly shines in you! He is truly our Christmas Candle come into the world to shine into the darkened heart of humanity. A Candle in the Manger!