As Christmas decorating continues at my house, one room at a time, the day’s gratitudes seemed to gather around Light. Leonard Cohen’s lyrics, from the album Anthem, came to mind.
“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
Come and find the Light with me.
A Light Shines in the Darkness
Candlelight is a crucial part of my Christmas décor. When I light all the candles, after I finish decorating, they number in the 70s. I primarily use tea light candles and go through many packages during the holiday season.
Beyond just finding the flickering candlelight pretty and cozy, the tiny flames represent miniature beacons of hope in the darkness. I love filling my home with such hope.
The dining room, where I focused my attention tonight, contains more candles than any other room. My snowman collection fills this area and most of the pieces hold a tea light.
I’m grateful for each piece. Many have been gifted to me by my children, grandchildren, Mom and Greg. And one little pale blue snowman was crafted by my daughter Elissa when she was a child. Daughter Adriel gave me the snowman dishes.
Greg’s brother Ray, who passed away 15 years ago, drew the snowman picture when he was about 10 years old. I framed it a couple of years ago. Read more about Ray’s Snowman.
Vintage Metal Christmas Tree
This unique Christmas tree is one of my favorite pieces. After my sweet Aunt Annie passed away several years ago, my cousins allowed my mom, sisters and me to sort through boxes of items stored in my aunt’s basement.
I uncovered this metal tabletop tree, still wrapped in plastic and in its original box. Perhaps because it was so different, or perhaps because it reminded me of the silver aluminum Christmas tree that my grandparents had, that tree came home with me.
The branches fold down. White lights are already attached and when its plugged in, the tree glows with silvery beauty. I held my breath the first time I plugged the tree in and clicked the switch. And “Oooohed and Ahhhhed” when it lit up. I have no idea how old this treasure is, as I haven’t been able to find anything like it via Google.
I’m thankful for this special tree and the twinkling Light it casts into the room. Long may those little lights shine.
A New Space to Decorate
Unpacking the dining room Christmas boxes, I mentally decided which items to use and which to leave in the boxes. In spite of tabletops and shelves to decorate, I never have quite enough space to display everything.
Greg came to my rescue. He cleared a bookcase in the dining room, relocating the books to another area. Suddenly, I had three more shelves to play with! What fun.
Light filled this space too, in the form of candles and a lighted ceramic canister, made by my friend Beth many years ago. I’m grateful to Greg for gifting me with more space and I’m thrilled with the results. Snowmen share the shelves with a birdhouse, a metal globe, a vintage pocket watch and my mother’s WW II Wooden Shoes...a gift from her uncle when she was five.
I have a multitude of traditions surrounding Christmas. One involves a glass box, filled with tiny lights. This too was a long ago gift from my friend Beth. I’m not sure when the yearly custom began, however the lighting of the box signifies that Christmas has officially arrived in my house.
I purchase a new string of mini white lights each November, and remove the old strand. After adding the fresh lights, the box goes into its customary place in the dining room, and I plug in the string of lights.
Once I plug in the lights, they stay plugged in. Light shines from the glass box, a soft glow during the day and a true beacon at night that dispels the darkness. I lie in bed and appreciate the light that spills in through my doorway, knowing that all is well in my house.
The box stays lit until April, typically. And then one night, I turn out my bedroom light and realize total darkness blankets the room. My Christmas box has gone out. I always feel a bit sad when that happens, as it marks the end of the Season of Light. However, the darkness creates in me a greater appreciation for the Light when it returns in late November.
Tonight, Christmas officially arrived in my home. The box is a glow!
How the Light Gets In…and Out
One of my dearest treasures is a ceramic candle holder that my grandson Dayan made when he was a boy. It was his first attempt at working with clay and going through the whole creative process with it.
His art teacher was less than encouraging about his finished piece, something that bothers me still, to this day. In fact, she was downright rude, suggesting Dayan might want to toss his artwork.
Instead, my grandson, who went on to become very talented artistically, offered the candle holder to me. I accepted the gift with gratitude and appreciation for its unique beauty. The green container is on display in my dining room year around. At Christmas time though I drop a tea light into it and marvel at how the light delicately shines through.
As I lit the candle within the holder this evening, Leonard Cohen’s words came to mind.
Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.
Dayan’s candle holder isn’t perfect…few things in life are. And yet there is such beauty in imperfection, such delight to be found. His artwork contains little spaces, naturally, between the coils and blocks of clay. It’s through those wee gaps that the light finds its way out.
People are not perfect either…it’s safe to say, I think, that none are. And yet those places where challenges have created cracks and spaces and gaps are where Light finds its way in…and where our unique and renewed Light finds its way back out. Each of us, with Light spilling out, is a walking, breathing Beacon of Hope…if we allow the Light to find its way in and allow it to shine back out.
I’m grateful to Dayan…for his Light and for this precious, precious gift. I am ever so grateful for the Light that shines from each candle, each twinkling light, and especially from the green candle holder with its beautiful gaps. The Light calls to the Light within me and reminds me of who I am and of the Joy to be found during this season.
Welcome, Christmas Light.