The struggle between light and darkness
One of the striking differences between candlelight and electric light is electric light banishes darkness the moment you flick the switch, whereas with candlelight the darkness remains.
The glow of the candle’s flame reaches outwards but darkness remains at the edge of the circle of the candlelight. As the flame flickers in the breeze, we wonder whether its might be snuffed out so that the darkness returns. Part of the abiding power of candles – which really we no longer need in the days of ample electric light – is that they remind us of the struggle between light and darkness.
It is not for nothing that John’s gospel describes Jesus as 'the light of the world' (John 8.12). Jesus came into the world to shine as a light in the darkness - a light that the darkness could not overpower, chapter 1 of John’s gospel reminds us. Jesus, light of the world, could not be snuffed out even – or maybe especially – on the cross.
Lighting candles during Advent symbolises this struggle between light and darkness and reminds each one of us that we too are called to be lights, shining in the darkness, shining out God’s love and justice in the world in which we live.
By Paula Gooder
We may often think of poverty as being a problem overseas. And yet there are 3.6 million children living in poverty in Britain today. Poverty is an injustice, denying children the opportunities and choices to flourish – that is why we campaign to help all young people in poverty to receive free school meals.
Play our online game The Poverty Trap to get a sense of some of the difficult choices faced by families near the poverty line. You might like to spend time in prayer offering the results of the game to God.