Wednesday, 2 January 2013

What if ... I lit just one small candle

It's the second day of 2013, and it is DARK. We haven’t seen a glimmer of sunshine all day, just steady rain onto ground that is already saturated. Three days away from Epiphany,
the Christmas lights are still on display, and make a huge difference in weather like this. Flickering on and off along our fence, sparkling on the huge Christmas tree in the town centre, swaying gently from lampposts in the shape of Christmas stars and wise men. They’re very small individually, but together they show up better on this dark day, than they would if the sun was shining brightly

A New Year has begun.How do you FEEL as you look ahead? Are you excited by the plans you have for the coming 12 months? Does your calendar sparkle with possibilities? Is your world full of ‘sunshine’, with exciting plans for family, home and work? If you are a writer, have you got a list of contracted books and healthy advances or is this year promising to be dreary and dark with no ideas, rejected proposals or a manuscript which just isn’t working?

Some years ago, my husband and I were about to welcome a 10 year old into our home. Our older three children were away at university most of the time, we were already foster carers to her brother and sister, and the family with whom Gemma was living needed a break. So we’d said yes to ‘our’ children’s pleas to keep her in the family, but with a degree of apprehension. Life was very busy and she had a reputation for being a handful! A friend offered to stay in our house for the weekend and look after our family, while we had a brief break before the new adventure in parenting began.

Staying in Lincoln, a beautiful old city perched high on a hill, we wandered into the echoing spaces of the empty cathedral.’ Lord” I whispered under my breath ‘are we completely mad? How am I going to cope with six children coming and going? Was this idea really from You?’  Then, in a lady chapel, a huge modern candle stick, probably six feet high and at least 3 feet across confronted me. Around the rim was a circle of flickering tea lights, and the letters engraved upon it spelled out God’s answer. ‘The Lord will make us equal to the task’. We went home comforted and encouraged.

You may have heard of the words that King George quoted in his Christmas broadcast in 1939 as the world plunged into war :

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.' And he replied, 'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!” ― Minnie Louise Haskins
I’m sure that Minnie Haskins never expected her words to be spoken by a king or echo down the generations, bringing comfort and hope to many. But she used her talents to do what she could, to bring God’s answer to a world in the grip of fear and darkness.
Whatever spiritual warfare we face in 2013,let’s remember that we  too can step forward with confidence, knowing that it is worth all the struggles we may face as we seek to share God's answers. One small light can make a difference, and that the Lord WILL make us ‘equal to the task.’

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