My friend, Bette, and her husband Rick, are two very kind people that have blessed my life and I am sure, they have also been a blessing to countless others. Both were teachers, so their giving touched many young lives through the years. This past Christmas, Bette shared a story that happened at their home on Christmas Eve.
As was her custom, Bette had put a lighted candle in the window. It was a tradition she said she had experienced in her past as a young person, and each Christmas, she continued the tradition. The lit candle served as a sign to passersby, that if they were in need, they could knock on her door and she and Rick would be of help to them.
This particular Christmas Eve did bring a knock to their door. A young man and his son had veered off the country road and into a ditch that was filled with Wisconsin snow. They asked if they could borrow a shovel. Of course, Bette and her husband, Rick, gave them a shovel and a flashlight to help them out. While they were outside digging their car out, Bette and Rick prepared a Christmas Box for the two travelers. They had received an abundant supply of grapefruit and oranges from Florida as a Christmas gift and they decided to share the fruit with the father and his son.
How wonderful that the lit candle brought the travelers to a safe place in our weary world. How wonderful that generous and caring people still live among us. How wonderful that a beautiful tradition of being available to help someone in need when a lit candle in the window leads the way!
|le Caoimhghín Ó Brolcháin
1. Scuab an t-urlár agus glan an teallach,
Brush the floor and clean the hearth,
|2. Ná múch an coinneal ard bán,
Ach fág é lásta go geal .
Go mbeidh siad cinnte ar aon
go bhfuil fáilte is fiche roimh cách
Sa teach ar an Oiche Nollag naofa seo!
|Don’t blow the tall white candle out
But leave it burning bright,
So that they’ll know they’re welcome here
This holy Christmas night!
The Irish tradition of placing a lit candle by a window at Christmas time seems to have originated in Ireland. Although, it is also a traditional German custom, as well, dating back to the time of Martin Luther. Historically, it seems to have begun in the 17th Century in Ireland when the Penal Laws of Ireland were in place. Catholics were forbidden to gather in Churches for Mass and the priests had to hide or be killed. As a result, Catholics had to devise a signal for the priest that he would be welcomed into their home to say Mass. The signal was a lit candle in the window. The government became a bit suspicious with all the candlelit windows so the people simply said it was in response to the Christmas Story that tells about Joseph and Mary looking for shelter for themselves and their child that was about to be born, Jesus. The tradition, even to this day, emphasizes the hospitality of the Irish people, who are known for their welcoming spirit to a friend, to those who pass by or to those in need.
Other Interesting Sites about “A Candle in the Window”