A Flickering Candle

An Inspiration for Hanukkah

Winter has come, and with it the days have grown colder and shorter. The trees have resigned their leaves, the grass has been lulled to sleep and lost its color, and the warm sunlight of summer has retreated in place of a weak and apathetic replica of the same. Darkness pushes ever so firmly against the light that it seems the days are but a single breath between the long nights. Peering beyond frosted glass, the frozen blackness consumes any light too weak to withstand its shadowless embrace. A deafening silence settles in among the houses and trees, gently smothering the distant sounds of fading traffic. Outside all is cold, dark, depressing. Yet, it appears a minuscule and lonesome light flickers in the distance through a frozen window. Barely visible, the flame of a single candle dances to a silent, pulsating melody. In stark contrast to the bleakness of a winter night, this candle frantically struggles to give forth its light while swaying and swooning to keep time with a song only it can hear.

But if we look longer and more intently we make out another window also with a single candle, another small, flickering flame waging war against the harsh winter night. And if we look harder, we see another, and yet another. It seems there are battles of light and darkness being fought all around, a virtual war zone in which the outwardly insignificant flames of individual candles are beginning to press back the darkness. The night is becoming brighter, and a once hopeless cause now seems to be coming to life, lead by these individual flickering flames dancing to the same silent song.

Sometimes it seems our candles are the only ones burning. Our flames flicker in and out as the darkness pounds against us with ruthless determination. But if we peer deep into the night we will realize there is always another flame fighting just as desperately to stand firm and repel the darkness closing in on every side. When we set ourselves in the window—nearest the incoming darkness—we not only work to push aside that darkness, but we give hope to other lonely candles struggling to maintain their light. We give them the courage to face the darkness with their own small light. One flickering candle in a window will not dispel the darkness. But if we each set our light in the window, the darkness will be diminished and our candles will bring light and hope to all who see it. This Hanukkah, remember to shine your light—both literally and metaphorically—to those around you. You never know what an impact it will have on those struggling to see beyond the consuming darkness of winter’s long night.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14–16)

Wishing you a happy Hanukkah filled with the light of Messiah Yeshua!