As Bruce Springsteen famously sang, “You can’t start a fire without a spark.” I had that lyric in my mind not long ago when I was struggling to get a fire to catch in my fireplace. Finally, the perfect combination of paper, twigs and logs found each other, and with a pleasing crackle, the fire ignited.
New Year’s Eve’s hallmark is its sparkles, from outfits to decorations to fireworks. But this year, I’m thinking less “bling” and more “bliss” when I consider where I can look for brightness and illumination as I turn the calendar to a new year.
And I come back to the comforting warmth of a crackling fireplace, the way it draws us in and lights our faces on dark or stormy nights. It’s not always easy to get a fire going—sometimes we spend a long time trying to will that precious spark into existence. We might even be tempted to give up and climb under a blanket instead.
But the contained, peaceful power of that flame-dancing hearth is worth the effort, and to me it connects so beautifully with the transition of the New Year.
Looking into the fireplace’s brightness, our minds can wander into the future we hope is before us, can retreat inside our deepest and most personal thoughts, wishes and prayers, or can simply abide quietly in the presence of a warmth that came to be because we built it—because we found the spark to the light up the year that lies ahead of us.