“The light of Christ, the hope of the world:” A Reflection on Beginnings

Editor: We welcome new Brazos Fellows Natalie Widdows to the blog with her first of hopefully many reflections!

Sitting cross-legged on my carpet, I watch the flickering flame of a white taper candle. The wax pools for a moment near the wick before spilling over, streaming down the side of the candle like tears.

The day before, a priest gave me this candle as a part a house blessing. He blessed the candle and then lit it, and, as the little flame danced into existence, the priest uttered a simple, yet powerful truth:

“The light of Christ, the hope of the world.”

He then handed the candle to me to hold, and I looked down at it with a new sense of awe. The flame seemed so gentle, timid even. Could the light of Christ really be like this tiny flame? I cupped it tenderly in my hands. I feared that the smallest breeze would snuff it out, yet the flame persisted in its burning.

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We took that candle into every room of the house, pausing to pray and ask for God’s blessing upon the life and work that took place in that space. The work in each room seemed to take on new meaning in the presence of that candle, for it signified both the inbreaking of Christ’s hope into the mundane acts of life, from cooking to sleeping to teeth-brushing, and the reorientation of these quotidian tasks to the glory of God. The candle brought new life, new depth, and a new beginning.

Beginnings. Though often tinged with the poignant sorrow of a season just ended, beginnings are glorious in the opportunities they offer. The blessing of my new home marked the start of a new season in my life, a season dedicated to prayer, work, study, discernment, and spiritual growth.

The year of Brazos Fellows lies open before me, and as I begin this new season, I am struck by how the light of Christ seeks to permeate all the spaces and rooms of my soul. It searches out the shadows, and, with its glow, this flame brings hope and healing and wholeness.

Faced with the blessed opportunity of this year, I am praying that God’s light would dwell richly in my soul. I am praying that the fire of faith would be kindled more fully within me and that the work of this year would spark a new devotion and a new direction. Full of hopeful expectation, I commit myself to the disciplines of our life together in Brazos Fellows, praying:

“My hope, my Christ, my lamp, my light: I entrust myself and this beginning to you. Amen.”