We light Advent candle two today, the Bethlehem candle. Tradition suggests it is a symbol of faith.
Faith, in a religious sense, gets bad press today, especially with those who think that religious faith simply reflects a statement of beliefs which contradict their take on personal or public situations.
Then there are many who trust that all would have faith in the directions given by traffic lights, but experience teaches us otherwise.
Or, like us, the Ukraine people were used to believing that when they turned on the tap, water would flow. The fact that, at the moment, water does not flow does not destroy the belief that water is meant to flow through those pipes.
Faith is, as the song said, “a many splendid thing”.
On one level, the Bethlehem candle acknowledges the faith that people like Isaiah celebrated. Yes, there would, in time, be one dressed with “integrity”!
On the other hand, that candle burns bright “as a signal to the people” handing on the same basic truths as revealed at Bethlehem 2000 years ago.
Further, a statement of truths is often called articles of faith providing basic guidance for all.
Over the centuries, some yearned for the coming of one who would open the eyes of the blind and unseal the ears of the deaf and be a person of integrity.
That word again, and one banded about so often in today’s world.
We do yearn for people of integrity.
The faith, patient faith of those in the past was, in time, rewarded. Not always in the way they anticipated. We are the recipients of those who carried the faith from one generation to another. Now it is our turn, in unfamiliar circumstances and surrounded by a seemingly rampant faithless throng, to do the same. But are they faithless? Or are they searching for true faith?
Ultimately, having explored these and many other aspects of faith, we, the followers of Jesus, are called to make that leap. Yes, Jesus is real. Yes, I can call Him saviour, healer, inspirer, and friend. Accepting that challenge is, as we have heard and said, the leap of faith. It is the move that matters. He is My Lord and my God!
The Bethlehem candle calls us to renew that leap again this Advent and to open the doors for those searching this Christmas.
Light your Bethlehem candle with a person in mind.