Preparation. It isn't all that necessary to my modern day survival. If I am not prepared with dinner, I can drive a mile and find a variety of choices to feed my family. If I am not prepared for Christmas, some store will be open at the last minute. Being ill prepared for physical life naturally spills over into how prepared I am in the spiritual realm. However, a quick fix is not so readily available.
The focus of the Bethlehem Candle is preparation. Am I prepared for Christ to show up in my life? Am I in a place to hear Him when he does? Will I notice His power when it is being displayed? Even with ancient prophecies that were widely known, the people of Bethlehem were not ready for the birth of Christ. Jesus showed up in their city unnoticed. Even with that huge, bright star glaring overhead, people went about their daily business with no regard to the truth illuminating their streets. What truth or insight alludes me when I am wrapped up in things that don't really matter?
How marvelous are those times we take notice of what the Creator of the Universe is up to all around us? Isn't it great when God allows truth to illuminate the cracks in our heart? Sometimes we position ourselves to hear him. Sometimes pain and suffering have to run their course for us to recognize God's presence. When it appears our life has fallen apart, His light shines on the scattered pieces He wants to sweep up and piece back together. The end result is a heart more alive and responsive to His grace than what we started with.
Are we prepared for that kind of salvation? Or, like so many 2000 years ago, will we miss God showing up in our lives because it doesn't look like we think it should?