By Kevin Avery
The holiday season is officially here and with it all of the fun and festivities that we all know and love every year. It is truly a blessing that we live in a country where we are free to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus, with openness and enthusiasm! Despite a few Grinch’s trying to replace a town Manger Scene with life sized cartoon characters skating or companies requiring employees to say ‘Happy Holiday’s instead of Merry Christmas, we have extraordinary freedom to express what Christmas is and who it’s about! The fact that I am writing this, freely and you are reading it without fear is a gift that many have never known.
For an example, you probably put lights or candles in your windows at Christmas. The history behind candles in windows highlights how privileged we are! Take a look at what Irish Christians went through in 1200’s to practice their faith;
“Placing lit candles in windows arises from the British persecution against the Church in Ireland. Since the time King Henry II invaded Ireland in 1171, persecution existed. During Christmas, every faithful Irish family hoped to have a priest visit their home. But it had to be done secretly for fear of being found out. So they would leave their doors unlocked and place candles in the windows to signal a priest that he was welcome and would be safe. Sometimes, a single candle would appear in several windows, or three candles in one window, one each representing Jesus, Mary and Joseph.”
How fitting, a single candle. Burning brightly in the cold winter night. Burning to welcome the Christ child and a celebration that no one, no man or government, can extinguish!
Knowing this story makes me want to put a candle in every window of my home! To proudly announce that we are anticipating with great joy, not an elf dressed in red (love ya Santa…but it’s not about you), not snowmen or reindeer, but a baby. A vulnerable, helpless child, sent to save the world. That is a candle that will never go out. It burns in windows, in churches and most importantly in our hearts.