Earlier this week, I celebrated another birthday. I had no birthday cake this time; instead, I splurged on a gluten-free chocolate dessert. However, when I was growing up, cakes were an important part of a birthday celebration. I have a picture of myself sitting in front of a cake on which there is one tiny candle. I don’t remember how long that candle remained lit. I suspect that one of my grandparents, who attended that birthday party, blew it out rather quickly.
After I got married, I kept the birthday-cake-with-candles tradition going. As the number of candles increased, blowing all of them out with one breath became more of a challenge. To make it more interesting, one year for my husband’s birthday, I bought candles that kept relighting after they had been blown out. Recalling that incident, today, reminded me of these words from the Gospel of John: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:5 NLT).
What is the light that can never be extinguished? Is it an LED or halogen light bulb? No. These long lasting bulbs are only good for 22 or 23 years. Is it our sun or some distant star? No. These huge bodies of light that exist for millions or billions of years, eventually die—turn into a black hole.
The light that can never be extinguished is not a thing. It’s a person. The name of that person is Jesus Christ. He called himself the Light of the World. The light that he brought to the world was a life very much greater than ordinary life.
The life that Jesus lived and the life that he offers us is like birthday cake candles that cannot be blown out. After 33 years, it looked like his light had been completely extinguished. It died. It was buried for three days, but then it came back—bigger and brighter and stronger than it had been before—proving that love is greater than hatred, that goodness is more powerful than evil, and that truth prevails over deception. I find great comfort in these facts.
Therefore, when I listen to newscasters talk about the current political confusion, uncertain economic problems, horrendous storms, the shooting of police officers or citizens, racial divisions, spread of the Ziki virus or other distressing matters, I do not panic—no matter how bad things get in this world.
And as one of Jesus’ light-bearers, my desire and prayer is that by the grace he gives me, I will—in my everyday life—show that love is stronger than hatred, good is more powerful than evil, truth prevails over evil, and light cannot be extinguished.
I intend to be the candle that cannot be blown out. What about you?