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  • Betty Girardeau

The Magic of Candlelight

I can never remember when candlelight wasn't special to me. I don't remember anything special about it as a family thing. My Mother would have candles lit when we had a special meal at Thanksgiving or Christmas and, more likely, when she had a dinner party. But, like snowflakes falling in the light of a streetlight, I believed candlelight was something special. I really can't explain why. For years I would set up the dinner table for just my husband and me to enjoy our meal and would have it candlelit. Now I even do it for myself, as the image above attests. This is my view of candles as I ate my dinner of leftovers tonight. Maybe candles are another reason why I love Christmas especially. The decorated trees, now with electric "candles" speak to me. There is something so calming about candlelight to me. Why? I can't explain it. Did I have another life at another time when finally fire brought light into darkness at the end of the day? It has been written that "There is a spiritual meaning of candle burning. On a practical level, candles help to set up a lovely, quiescent atmosphere most conducive for prayer, meditation, healing, and other activities of contemplation or communion with the Divine." Maybe that is why I love candles and candlelight. When I first moved to this house in Tennessee, I finally had real window sills where I could place electric candles in my windows as part of my Christmas decor. One of the first things I do when I am decorating my house at Christmas is to place my electric candles in all of my first floor windows. Do I consider these lights to be a message to my neighbors that I hope the glow from my candles will become a message of peace, love, and, if needed, healing for them during these latter days of yet another year of our lives? No, I really don't, though it would be nice if that is the message that those who see them get. All I can really say in all truthfulness is that candlelight warms my soul in a way that nothing else has ever been able to do. When I was in Italy last spring I went to several churches and, though not Catholic, I did put a coin in the box and lit a candle and prayed. And at St. Mark's in Venice I saw others doing the same. They, too, believe that the light of a candle can work magic.

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