We have finally, just, reached the time of year in our part of the country where we can get away with a fire. In the dozen years we have lived in our house, we have never done the work to get our fireplace “fire-ready.” This year, my husband insisted on finally getting it fixed so he could have some fires this winter. Since we live where it doesn’t often dip below freezing, our fires will be more for show than anything else. More important than that, they will be a source of comfort.
Fire is known for its destructive power and is equated with the punishment reserved for the damned. But, ice is also in competition for most damning element. In Dante’s seven layers of hell, ice is actually the worst level. The poet Robert Frost, also recognized the competitive potential between the extremes of these elements:
FIRE and ICE
BY ROBERT FROST
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
When you are in the heat of summer, ice water or a blast of cool air is a definite source of relief. We usually refer to these elements with adjectives like refreshing, invigorating, or reviving. But, when one is in the icy brace of a cold winter day, a flaming fire is far from bringing to mind such adjectives. Instead, we usually refer to such fires as cozy and comforting. They tend to make us think about wonderful Christmas mornings, times with family, and the value of love.
There is a fire that burns in each of us that we can access any time of the year as the energy source for us to both feel loved and be more loving toward the world around us. That fire, of course, is the Holy Spirit, which dwells in each of us when we ask Christ to come in and become our Savior. When we take the time to look inside through prayer and quiet moments contemplating the awesomeness of God, we have the potential to turn on an eternal flame that burns with such comfort and steadiness that we can’t help but feel safe. And, when we feel safe and comfortable, isn’t it so much easier to face the challenges that we all face every day?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the fire that burns inside us was so bright all the time that others couldn’t help but notice it in us? Isn’t that the Light Christ wants us to place on the lamp stand and not hide in a basket?
The holiday season is a much easier time to feel generous, but it is also a stressful time for many. Too much traffic, too many presents to buy, too much “baggage” with certain family members that never seems to get resolved but always rears its ugly head when we all try to come together for November and December’s big days.
Now is the time to embrace your inner fire, the Holy Spirit, so that you will feel the comfort that is God’s promise to all of us, and so you can glow with that fire towards all you encounter this holiday season–and throughout the year.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. –John 14:26-27