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Please note that Current of Life was previously published under the title: Living Your Potential

Living Your Potential

Oil Your Lamp

“To keep a lamp burning we have to keep putting oil in it.”
– Mother Teresa

To Keep a Lamp Burning

Imagine living in a time when oil lamps were prevalent?  To keep the rooms lit, you would have to frequently check the oil level in each lamp throughout the house.  The oil lamp is a timely metaphor for this evening, the first night of Hanukkah, which commemorates the rededication of the temple and the miracle of just one day’s oil supply lasting to light the menorah lamp for eight days.  It is also the first week of Advent, during which the first of four candles within a wreath is lit in hope, anticipation, and longing for divine presence to be felt in the world.

The Lamp as a Symbol

In reflecting on the quote above attributed to Mother Teresa, we can interpret the lamp as a symbol for any of the following: one’s body, one’s faith, a friendship or other relationship, a certain effort, initiative, or intentionHow do you “put oil into” each of these?

Your Body – What specific care is your body calling for at this time? 
Your Faith – What kind of actions nurture your spirit?  Mother Teresa’s own doubts made the headlines this year when a book of letters to her spiritual advisors was published.  What do you suppose helped her to pursue her mission despite her doubts?
Your Relationships – What friendship or other relationship requires your attention?
Your Intentions – What intention of yours would you like to ensure stays lighted?  What effort will you continue to put forth that is aligned with your intention?

Oil Your Lamp

Each of these areas needs to remain well oiled, yet the holiday season often finds us doing more rushing than oiling.  Putting oil in your lamp is not necessarily adding another thing to your list.  On the contrary, it may simply mean being quiet and reflective in the midst of an activity.  This December, take care to keep your lamp burning bright.

photo of oil lamp

Here's to you,
Ginny's signature

© 2007, Virginia M. Kravitz and In the Current®. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to reproduce this article provided it is without any alteration, includes the copyright above, and if distributing electronically includes a link to

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