fireplaceWhen our furnace died, one terribly cold night, it became an opportunity to huddle together and focus on the warmth that comes from faith, family and love…

It began at 4 p.m. when our gas furnace rocked and rattled. The serviceman confirmed what we suspected. The blower was shot. Unfortunately, the nearest supplier was an hour’s drive away and our serviceman didn’t have time to take out the old one and drive that distance to get it fixed or replaced. He advised us to bring build up a fire in the fireplace.

So, this could have been the start of a nice, change-of-pace, cozy night. Except one of our fireplaces was labeled “dangerous” the last time it was checked. And the other fireplace is in the back of the house and doesn’t send heat to the bedrooms.

The temperature was dropping fast. It was five degrees according to the thermostat but colder than that with the wind chill. Brigit, age 11, was coughing in allergic reaction to chimney smoke. I was in denial. This couldn’t be happening, or could it?

As the warmth inside the house quickly dissolved, we huddled together in one room. Under a pile of blankets we watched the old Titanic movie. Not the love story version, but the original film, showing terror, heroism and devastation. It all happened in a single night back in 1912.

It gave us the opportunity to talk about what we would do in that situation, faced with jumping into the frigid ocean. “I’d move my legs a lot and pray hard,” someone said.

We piled on blankets and pretended we were living in the earlier times when cold nights were an everyday experience. It was time to be thankful for our blessings…for new blankets that came as Christmas presents and for movies that helped us keep our perspective about our troubles.

Especially we prayed for Jurgen, my husband. He is in eighties and has health problems. But he courageously kept the fire going in our back room fireplace so that we had one spot of warmth in the house.

When dawn finally came, it was as if our eyes were opened in a new way. Light brought a feeling of renewal and warmth. All things are possible when there is Light.

I share this story by way of saying that any time of trouble offers an opportunity to be renewed in faith. The contrast of warmth and cold, fire and ice, light and dark are important images for us. We are called to trust in Jesus when there is cold, ice and darkness.

Then the Light of the World will shine for us. And then the darkness is conquered. The warmth is re-kindled.

From our family to yours, we pray that our eyes will be opened. The Light is always there dispersing the darkness if we but turn in faith to Him.

And then “the peace which transcends all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4: 6-7) Isn’t it amazing to think that St. Paul wrote those words while he was in dark prison cell?! Clearly, he could see the Light.

Copyright 2014 Judith Costello