Fire. It’s amazing and mesmerizing. There is nothing quite like sitting next to a campfire deep in the woods and surrounded by the darkness of night. The crackling, the sparks, the smokey scent, the warmth, and the flickering flames always tug at something from deep within. We cook on it, heat with it, play with it, and soak up its warmth. And while we may use it much more efficiently in our homes, when you’re out in the woods, it seems even more essential and inviting. Why?
Laurence Gonzales, the author of Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why, spoke to Byron Kerns about our love affair with fire in National Geographic Adventure (Nov, 2009, p.26). Kerns, a former Air Force survival instructor, explained to Gonzales that often fire is not needed for survival in the wild. With the right kind of shelter and clothing, usually you won’t freeze to death. So why start a fire? Kerns believes that there’s something about fire that’s deeply embedded in our human nature. “It’s amazing to see what fire can do. You’re out in the woods, you’re cold, you’re lost, you’re lonely. But the minute you light that fire, you’re home, the lights are on, and the supper’s cooking.”
And Kerns is right. There’s is something so inviting and comforting about an open fire that says, “You’re welcome” and “you’re at home.” That’s what fireplaces are all about. Efficiency? No way. But ambiance? You bet. We are drawn to the light, the warmth, and the cozy feeling it brings to a room and to those who share it’s glow.
This draws me back to the words of invitation from Jesus to a people struggling to survive in a hostile environment that surrounded them with soul-numbing darkness. In John 8:12, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Do you feel it? The warmth on your face? That’s God’s invitation to “come home.”
It’s an invitation to step into the glow of His light, to no longer settle for living alone and striving to make it on your own in the darkness. Instead, Jesus invites each of us to come home to where there is warmth, light, nourishment, hope . . . and life.
So the next time you light that campfire or that fireplace, remember God’s invitation for you to come home. So how about it? The lights are on and supper’s cooking.