There’s something about a campfire, isn’t there?
It never fails to bring a smile to my face when I walk outside on a crisp autumn day and smell one on the breeze. Its seductive fragrance entices me to breathe its perfume deep into my lungs, savor it, and then let it go. I’m always amazed that after I exhale, I realize a fraction of my stress has gone.
Campfires bring enchantment to this season. I used to think it was a Minnesota thing: our desire to cling to the last threads of summer as the leaves change colors and cascade to the ground. There’s something about the dropping temperatures that beckons us to the firepit for one last hurrah before winter’s chill chases us inside. But lately, I’ve begun to wonder if it’s something more.
Fires have a life-force all their own. It only takes a single spark to give them birth, and then they quickly burst into ravenous flames devouring everything in their path. The kindling, paper, and dryer lint we gathered and arranged doesn’t stand much of a chance against their voracious appetite. However, it’s easy to be deceived by their fervor, but this young fire will die without constant attention. We must continuously feed it sticks and small branches to keep it alive and growing. But after a while, there’s enough heat built up that we can start adding more massive logs, significantly reducing the time and attention necessary to keep the fire going.
With each new log, the fire settles into a rhythm. Its appetite doesn’t slow, but it eats less frequently because it takes it longer to digest the massive logs. This enables the fire to mature and produce a coalbed–allowing its heat to become more consistent.
The coalbed is the heart of the fire as it holds the most intense heat. It’s from this place that sparks fly, and other fires begin. It’s from this place new flames receive life. It is from this place that we’re drawn in.
There’s something about a campfire that offers a chance to get refreshed and recharged; that provides an opportunity to be still and unwind.
I don’t know if it’s the dancing flames or the heat penetrating down to my soul that causes me to relax. Maybe it’s the fire’s the warm glow illuminating the darkness within its reach that alleviates the coldness in my heart. Regardless, it beckons me to scoot in closer and settle back into my chair then it seduces me into letting my stress and worries slowly melt away.
There’s something about a campfire that brings people together; heals our weary hearts and stressed-out souls; loosens the tangles of our mind; and invokes relaxation for our body and spirit.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t keep a good fire to myself. I want to share it with those close to me. Some of my greatest joys are family fires or hosting bonfire nights because the conversation and laughter of those I hold dear entangle with the smoke and fill my heart. I routinely observe a particular eagerness inside each soul as it approaches the flames. An expectancy. A hope.
I enjoy watching people around a fire; the way they circle their chairs and stare into the flames. I often wonder what’s going on inside as they poke the coalbed with a stick, roast marshmallows, or feed the hungry flames. I frequently witness shoulders loosen as tension eases, and lines of worry fade as they yield to the fire’s warmth. But it’s those who get introspective under the spell of the flames that capture my attention. Those who become quiet; deep in thought as they settle into their chair. Those who finally have time to wrestle with something or to let something go.
There’s something about a campfire that’s akin to our faith.
When we accept the spark of Salvation, it quickly bursts into ravenous flames of faith, hungry and devouring everything in its path. Every little thing we learn about Jesus, His Church, and who we are in Him gets absorbed, making us hungry for more. We are blessed by those who diligently and patiently feed our fire through disciple and teaching us how to read our Bible. These precious people labor to keep our fire alive until we’re ready for the more in-depth teachings and personal Bible Study.
Before we know it, we have a coalbed deep inside that radiates the Father’s love to those around us, drawing them in. But it only remains and grows when we feed it.
Every time we spend time in prayer, developing and deepening our relationship with our Savior, we add a log. Each time we engage in Bible study to learn about who Jesus is and who we are in Him, we add another log. Each time we submit to God’s leading in our lives, we add another log. When we participate in corporate worship and attend conferences and retreats, we add another log. And every time we praise our Great God and edify our brothers and sisters in Christ, we add more logs to our fire.
Did you know our coalbed consists of:
- The eternity God has planted in our heart (Ecc. 3:11, Rev 21:4);
- Our eternal life through Jesus (Ro. 6:23)
- Our hope and future (Jer 29:11, Ro. 15:11)
- Our rest (Mt. 11:28)
- Our new self (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:22-23; Col. 3:10)
- Our renewed spirit (Ps. 51:10; 2 Tim 1:7)
- Our strength (Is. 40:31)
- The true love of our Savior (1 Cor. 13)
- And so much more!
Beloved, it’s our responsibility to let our light shine in the sphere of influence God has given us. And when we radiate God’s glory and love, others are drawn to us because they want what we have. They’re desperately hungry for this Light’s warm glow in our cold dark world. They wish to scoot in closer, to feel the heat of our radiant hope, desiring to melt their frozen harts. And when these dear ones poke the coalbed or when we add another log to the flames–sparks fly.
And each spark has the potential of giving birth to a new flame.
There’s just something about a campfire…isn’t there?