I picked up a small candle from the pile. One of many. This one was a little dented around the edges, and the wick was a black stub. Perfect, I thought. The candle was supposed to symbolize me - I was supposed to light it from one of the three large candles symbolizing the trinity and place it around them, reflecting on how God's light in my life should and will make a difference in the world around me.
I'm not starting with a perfect untouched little tealight - I have lots of life left, but there's some that's been used up. I've got the marks and scars that show that life hasn't always been fair or kind. But that wick will still light - isn't it true that it is easier to light a candle once it's already been lit? Once you've seen the power of God in your life, it's easier to give him that space again.
Another parallel. So I set my candle down on an overturned metal tray - it was a beat up old christmas one, so we were using the shiny flipside. It, too, was scuffed and there were dents in the edges. Just like my neighborhood. It's not the prettiest. But God loves the people around me. And for now, that's where He has placed me. And that's where my light will shine. The bent and used tealight shines on the old scuffed tray with a light that is pure and that can't be changed. It is just like the big candle it was lit from. The flame is the same.
Amazing how something so simple can mean so much and sink so deep.
I picked up another one to symoblize my kid - to pray that her life would be a shining light on our street and wherever she is. The one I picked up that time was unscuffed and pure, but sitting beside mine on the tray, we cast more light together. More of that same flame.