Literary Insights

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Candles


Have you ever wondered why we put candles in the windows at Christmastime?

Wonder no more. During the seventeenth century, the British conquerors of Ireland implemented harsh laws aimed at eradicating Irish traditions. Irishmen were forbidden to vote, send their children to school, purchase land, or own a horse worth more than twenty-five dollars. Irish priests were driven out of the land and warned never to return under penalty of death.

On Christmas Eve, despite the iron hand of their conquerors, Irish families of faith placed a single candle in each of three windows—or three candles in one window—to represent Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. These candles signaled to a traveling priest that the doors were unlocked and he was welcome to come in, share a meal with the family, and celebrate “Christ-mass.”

These Irish believers understood that, in the words of the apostle John, Jesus is the Light that shines through the darkness, “and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:5). No matter how many laws are enacted to try to snuff out the gathering of the saints, such laws are no match for the Light of the World!

Excerpted from The Adventure of Christmas by Lisa Whelchel
Daily Reflection: How can you be a light to the world?