Bringing the Light of Jesus to Correctional Facilities
Northlander creates paper Christmas candles for those behind bars
One of our beloved traditions on Christmas Eve has been lighting the candles at the end of each service. Singing “Silent Night” and raising our candles in unison seem to unite us and remind us all of the light we have because of Jesus, which we can share with the world. The light of each Christian includes those behind bars. Here, Prison and Jail Ministry volunteer Lucee Price describes the journey that she and her family have been on to make sure those behind bars are able to participate in this special tradition as they worship with us.
In 2010, I served in the Seminole County correctional facility as part of Northland’s worship ministry during Christmas Eve service and was saddened to see the ladies didn’t have anything to hold up when the candles were distributed.
The following year I decided to create paper candles for the women. My daughters and I colored them in and actually handwrote the verse on them since there were only 60 to do. The ladies absolutely loved them and felt included. In fact, we did it again for the ladies the next year. Within a couple of years, our family, along with friends, created enough for all the jail and prison services; we had to start making copies instead of handwriting the verse because we created around 400!
My husband, Rick, took them to Tomoka Correctional Institution, where he serves, and the men there say it is a highlight of their service. They tell Rick they keep them on their walls and in their Bibles the rest of the year.
From the start, our mission has been to encourage men and women inside correctional facilities so they understand they are as much the light of the world, right where they are, as anyone on the outside.
It has become a much-anticipated annual family-and-friends tradition to color and cut these candles for the correctional facilities, and as we do, we pray for lives to be powerfully changed as we all understand on deeper levels what being fully alive means.
During this Christmas season, remember to pray for those brothers and sisters behind bars. Pray that they would be a light to everyone they connect with on the inside. We recognize that God’s light finds a way to pierce the darkness, and we rejoice to be part of that story.
Call to Prayer
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”– Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”– Colossians 4:2 (NIV)
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)