During this time of the year many religions use candles as part of their holiday traditions.
The Jewish people light a Menorah during Hanukkah. "On each of the eight nights, a candle is lit in a special menorah (candelabra) called a 'hanukkiyah'." It is aptly called the "Jewish Festival of Lights."
In the Roman Catholic and Christian traditions a set of four Advent candles are used signifying Hope; Peace; Joy and Love and a fifth candle in the center representing Jesus. They're lit on each of the weeks leading up to the birth of Christ. The Advent wreath signifies the waiting and anticipation of Jesus' birth and the preparation needed to welcome Him once again into their lives.
"Kwanzaa is a seven day festival that celebrates African and African American culture and history. Kwanzaa takes place from 26th December to 1st January. During Kwanzaa a special candle holder called a kinara is used. A kinara holds seven candles, three red ones on the left, three green ones on the right with a black candle in the center. Each night during Kwanzaa a candle is lit. The black, center, candle is lit first and then it alternates between the red and green candles stating with the ones on the outside and moving inwards. This is quite similar to the lighting of the menorah in the Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah." All of these rituals signify the hope and joy of the season.
What is it about lights and lighting candles that makes us so joyous and hopeful?
Is it a way of showing our homage and paying tribute to something or someone? Or is it a way of heralding in a new beginning? I think it's both.
We use candles to celebrate birthdays, holidays and special events. According to Wonderopolis, "for the Ancient Greeks, putting candles on a cake was a special way to pay tribute to the Greek moon goddess, Artemis. They baked round cakes to symbolize the moon. ... People may have believed that the smoke from the candles carried their wishes and prayers to gods who lived in the skies."
Light is extremely significant to all life. Sunlight gives us much needed Vitamin D and shines on vegetation thus giving plants their green color. The stars in the sky shed light on the earth and were used to guide the Magi to the child Jesus. Light guides our way when we drive in our cars and a plane takes off and lands on a runway. My husband uses a flashing light when he takes the dogs out for their walk at night. And on and on...Light is so important.
But, what about the dark? Many people love the dark. I, for one, am not one of them. Comparing light to dark is a paradox of sorts. While they are opposites, each adds feelings of emotion to the beholder. Take Dagger, for instance, he'd prefer to be in the light than the dark. You see, he's extremely afraid of the dark. I think that says a lot about Dagger. He really is a dog that lights the way for so many people. I believe that his loving the light so much and many other attributes make Dagger a very special dog.
Each of us has a light burning inside of us yearning to shine brightly for all the world to see. It's so important to share that light with others through acts of kindness and love. especially during the holidays. Sharing our Time, Talents and Treasures will not only make the recipient feel good, but most importantly it makes us feel good too. Dagger shares his little light everyday with everyone he meets. His little light shines through his eyes which I feel are the windows to his soul. He's truly a blessing.
So, how can we let our little lights shine? Perhaps, this Holiday Season we might want to set some time aside to visit a shelter...During the holidays, the animals in the shelters are very often forgotten about because people are so busy. Another great suggestion is to help out at a Food Pantry or Soup Kitchen. Bringing holiday cheer to the homeless will brighten their day. Or get a toy for a child and bring it to a participating "Toys for Tots" collector.
Whatever you do, let your light shine as brightly as it can to light your way to true happiness this Holiday Season!!!
🙏🏻 Holiday Blessings 🙏🏻
Happy Tales to you,
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A Place where I can Bark, Blog and Woof a Little
written by Yvonne Dagger