In the windows of our homes we often add brightly lit candles as part of our Christmas decorations. Though they add warmth and light, there is actually a story behind the tradition that many Americans practice.
Like other Christmas symbols, the origin of the candles in the window is credited to legend. One such legend dates back to the 17th century in Ireland, during a time in which Irish Catholicism was suppressed by England. Priests went into hiding, some living in caves. Because corporate worship meetings were prohibited, families would place a candle in the window, and leave their doors unlocked on Christmas, in order to let the priest know he would be welcome in their home.
When soldiers began to notice this practice, the people said the candles were a religious tradition, to light the way for Mary and Joseph. This appeased the soldiers, and the candles have since become a tradition.
In John 8:12 (ESV) Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” What a wonderful time of the year to share the light of Jesus with others! As we see the candles that brighten our windows during this season, let it inspire us to share the Light with those around us.