Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Candle in the Window

Sometimes Mom would put blue lights into the candle holders. Other times she went for the more conventional orange lights. I could hardly wait until Mom pulled the candles from the Christmas box. Once the light bulbs were in place, we went from window to window placing the them onto each windowsill. She plugged them in and for another year warm candlelight (via electricity) radiated from our home.

One year I returned to the farm to find that every home had little candles in all of their windows. I loved the welcome glow and the farmhouse echoing another time, the home fires still burned for a daughter far from home.

I decided to do some research on this tradition of a candle in the window. The most popular belief is that early Christians placed a candle in the window lighting the way for Mary and Joseph. Some say it started as a warning for sailors that they were nearing land. It has been said that it started with early colonists lighting the way for revolutionists. Candles in windows signaled safe houses for fleeing slaves. A candle was placed in the window when a son or husband went off to war was a reminder that home and family would be there when they returned.

Candles in the windows welcomed guests and offered hospitality. Candles were placed remembering those who lived far away. They announced births and signaled family loyalty.

“Grammy, look what I did!” exclaimed Gabby. She had taken my plastic candles from the box, placed the orange lights into the sockets and waited until I looked before she plugged them in. The windowsill was aglow with the warm light, the light welcoming the nativity into my home. A light showing the way for a sleigh in the Christmas sky. We placed lights in each window. She, the child that once I was, followed what had become a family tradition.

The warm glow greets my heart and lights the way for the Christmas spirit. And, maybe I should have these candles year round signifying everything that was and welcoming everything that will be.

Light a candle and remember.

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