Advent Candles

Five candles flicker and glimmer in the fading light, casting lively images of light and shade on the ancient church walls. The door creaks and groans a little as it opens and the dark figure steps inside. He walks to the front, to the candles and their light. He leans over the first candle of Hope, feels the warmth on his face and recoils a little, then scowling, blows it gently out, shifting focus to all those things which bring fear and despair into our lives, all those things which bring us down and rob us of energy and direction and meaning.

He turns to the second candle, representing Joy, and gently extinguishes that one, elevating the sadness and despair that can grip hearts and minds like a closed fist.

He addresses the third candle, Peace, a fragile, vulnerable light, easy for to him press his fingers on the flame and squish it out. Gone. And so the shadows of skirmishing and friction, misunderstanding and malevolence creep across the land now.

The fourth candle still casts its light, still defeats the darkness, in spite of being almost alone, but a blast of foul air puts a stop to that. And love is extinguished too. And you can almost feel the stress and fury, selfishness and hatred waking and stretching and readying to bring the world down.

He blows on the fifth candle. And he blows harder than before, harder than anyone ever blew. And he needs to, the Light of the world is a strong powerful light. Will it resist the chill of the darkness? No. Of course not. The light is gone. Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love, all lost now. He turns and walks away. Struts and swaggers, head back, eyes dark and searing. But he’s taken barely a few steps when he stumbles, and he has to steady himself, suddenly weaker. He pauses for breath, gasps a little, and then shudders as he spots the change. He swings around. There it is. Had he not just put the thing out? The fifth candle. The Light of the world. In its dying the light has somehow become stronger, burning brighter now, back once more. And before long the other four candles have caught the heat and the spark, and they too have recovered. Reborn. Alight once more. The figure rushes back, limping a little now, does his best to blow them all out in one foul move. The flames struggle at times almost shrink and fade to nothing, But the light shines on. And the darkness cannot overcome it.

Isaiah 9 v 2, John 1 v 4-5

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