Candle in the Window

“Christmas Candle”
Photo Credit©Jane Johann, Dec.2017

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,
‘s coimead na grísaigh beo,
Ar eagla go dtiocfhaidh siad anocht,
Agus an domhan ‘na chodladh go suan!


Brush the floor and clean the hearth,
And set the fire to keep,
For they might visit us tonight
When all the world’s asleep!

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”


5 thoughts on “Candle in the Window

  1. dokinhs says:

    what a beautiful story…how wonderful indeed that there are still people who do share their love and a helping hand.   I know that you are one of those people Jane.   GOD BLESS YOU my sweet friend. HUGGS & LOVE Diane  


  2. How wonderful. How beautiful. True Christmas spirit of sharing. 🙂


    • Merry Christmas, Celestine! Yes, Bette & Rick are very good people with kind hearts. I think there is so much sadness in the world and we hear those stories each morning when we get up and again at night when we are ready to retire…so I am making the effort to write about the GOODNESS that surrounds us. We have to remind ourselves that there is kindness and people do bring LIGHT to others…and find the LIGHT in others. Hope YOU and Your Family have a very special Christmas, Celestine!


  3. Thank you Johann. While hiking a large portion of the PCT a couple summers ago, we stayed 2 nights at the Big Lake Camp in central Oregon free of charge. We ate in the cafeteria and were welcome to showers. They rented us a room for $5.00 a night! They are Seventh Day Adventists who open their doors to the weary PCTers that come by literally in the hundreds. I asked the camp doctor why they did it and he said it was based off a passage in the Bible that encourages us always to open our homes to strangers as one might might be welcoming an angel unawares. Such a lovely premise and one that has always remained ever present in my thoughts.
    Thank you for sharing…and thinking!
    Bellingham Walks


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