St John Evangelical Lutheran Church

Wax Candles or Battery Lit?
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dec  The question that might concern a church if we worry about the 100+ lit and moving candles on the night of Christmas Eve. It is a concern of fire inspectors whose job is to identify fire risk. Clearly, so many candles held by every age in such close quarters is a risk! Row after row of flaming sticks of wax near wooden seats occupied by people who might have used remarkably flammable hairspray with racks of books in front of them filled with very flammable pages of paper!


As if fire isn’t enough risk, there is the wax. One year, someone brilliantly invented the simple paper circle to hold the candle and catch the hot, dripping wax before it sears the flesh a small child. That was a great idea!


But even that great idea wasn’t enough to stop the small disaster that occurred one Christmas Eve, standing beside my brother in one of the flammable pews in our home church. We grew up in the same church as our two grandmas who sat on opposite ends of the sanctuary. We had the choice of seating: Grandma Johnson on the pulpit side, or Grandma Steeves on the piano side. That Christmas Eve so long ago, we sat with Grandma Johnson. (Later, we would go to her house to eat the skinniest beef ribs ever and something called fruit soup which we would pretend we hadn’t noticed on the table.)


Sitting in front of Grandma Johnson was a beautiful girl my brother’s age. She and my big brother had been “a thing” for a short time, and it turned out she wasn’t very nice. Therefore neither of us was excited to sit behind her. (She indeed had a lot of flammable hairspray going on.)


Standing together with our candles flaming and “Silent Night” filling the room, my brother shot me a look. He had done it by accident. It was purely innocent. Some of the wax had slid off his candle onto her seat. (These days I know how terrible it is to be the one to clean up wax melted onto fabric. Thank Ray and Tammy if you have a chance.)


Spilling wax that would dry in a short time posed very little risk for the girl sitting in front of us. But I think we both secretly hoped it might stick to her perfect dress. At least I did. \But in the end, it wasn’t a big deal.


This Christmas Eve, I wonder what new memory is waiting for you. What might happen that will forever bring a spark of joy to your heart when you remember it? Don’t move too quickly through the birth of our Lord. The light that overcame the darkness is much brighter than a battery lit candle. You are left with sparks of hope and joy in the midst of the hardships of life.


           Lisa Lewton, dec  Senior Pastor

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St John Lutheran Church
146 6th AVE W
Dickinson, ND 58601

Phone: (701) 225-6747
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