Many years ago, I knew a pastor in a real small town at a desolate intersection of highway, who had a real nasty encounter with the local fire department over a candlelighting service that was planned for Christmas Eve. His predecessor served as a volunteer firefighter and at one time had even been the fire chief. During his tenure as pastor, the church never had a candlelighting service because it violated fire regulations. When the new pastor arrived, he decided to have a candlelighting service since almost every church in America has one. That is when he encountered the fire department.
He was told by the chief at the time that under no circumstances was his church having a Christmas Eve candlelighting service, and he responded in no uncertain terms that they indeed were going to light candles. A stand-off ensued. In a compromise, the firefighters said they would relent if a couple of them were permitted to stand in the back of the sanctuary in full gear with fire extinguishers in case there was a problem. The pastor agreed, but when Christmas Eve came, no one from the fire department showed up. I suppose they decided that it wasn't worth the time.
I tell this story to make two points: First, candlelighting services on Christmas Eve are a critical part of the Christmas celebration and have been for centuries Frankly, no authority has any right to countermand such a tradition. The pastor was right for standing his ground.
Second, having said that, the potential for danger and disaster at a candlelighting service with many open candle flames side-by-side and moving from front to back should be obvious. It is therefore absolutely essential that every effort be made to make those holy moments of worship as safe as possible. Just prior to the service of candlelighting, I always give instructions for how to pass the flame throughout the sanctuary. (e.g. Always tip an unlighted candle to receive the flame, never tip a lighted one to give the flame. And be careful of the long hair of the person sitting in front of you!) Most Christmas Eve candlelighting services violate a municipalitie's fire codes, but fire departments, knowing the importance of such services, simply look the other way. But the concern of the fire chief those many years ago in that little hamlet was genuine and well-founded.
So, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Eve celebration this year in worship and in light. A little caution and concern in the process will also help to make it a safe one.