UP FOR DISCUSSION … With little more than one week before we celebrate Jesus’ birth, are you finding the light? Why does so much of our discussion turn to providing light in places where it seems to be very dark? Even a flicker of a candle can make all the difference!

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It started with a simple mention by a friend that she was having a difficult time finding fresh tapered candles anywhere.  That led to a lengthy discussion that repeated itself twice more with others during the week.  Where have all the Hallmark Stores gone?  Once a hallmark of Christmas shopping (pun intended), for many so much of Christmas preparation, gifting, and may I say fun shopping came for the local Hallmark store.  And there were several of them … at one point a presence in every mall of reasonable size and among multiple strip shopping centers right around the corner from the grocery store.  You could not miss walking by their expansive windows full of Christmas treasures.  Remember?  The wrapping papers with marked grids for precision cutting, good quality ribbon for making perfect bows, the Christmas ornaments themed to commemorate the big events of the past year, the unique collector items, the nostalgic blasts of the past … even the gold seals that came with the cards that for some reason I felt were necessary to fully convey the card’s message!  While I never would have said it was my favorite store, it was a mainstay for shopping – especially during the holidays.

And at this time of the year when most losses are felt more acutely, here I am in multiple conversations lamenting yet another loss many of us feel.  Where do we now purchase our new candles, and gift-wrapping supplies, and unique gifts that are all carefully assembled in one place to ease the demands of Christmas preparation and gift giving?

As I bravely made my way early to our biggest mall yesterday morning to do some specific shopping, I was pleased to realize I had beat the crowd, so I wandered a bit through the long passageways and discovered not a single option to replace my Hallmark store experiences.  Even the anchor department stores had a slim and disjointed holiday offering.  Tapered candles, if they were there at all, were well hidden.  But I did find some gloriously scented centerpiece candles in the kitchen store!  And I bought one for my friend – not at all what she was looking for, but with the hope that it would somehow bring her light, peace, and joy at a time that I know feels very dark.  Sometimes we need to recognize that being someone else’s light in any form is the best we can hope for when their tapered Christmas candles are so hard to come by!


Up for Discussion:  How about you?  Are you struggling to find light in this holiday season?  How are you providing light for others?  We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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