by Cathy Collins
There are many things that I love about this time of year. The music, the beauty of the December night sky at dusk, the magic of memories awakened by each decoration placed on the Christmas tree, and the spirit of reflection about values to hold dear—love, joy, peace, and hope. It has always seemed rather fitting to me that light (candles) plays such an important role during this season. I can think of no better way to symbolize its spirit.
The Jewish tradition has the Menorah and the Christian tradition the Advent Wreath. Kwanzaa celebrations incorporate candles, as do those that honor the winter solstice. Candles and light abound at this time of year.
A tradition that I particularly love is the Christmas Eve service in which at the end we gather in a circle singing Silent Night. Each one of us has our own small candle. We must share the light from our candle to light our neighbor’s candle. Our individual candles do not give off much light; yet together our candles create enough light to see the beauty of our community.
Working at Habitat, I get to witness this image all through the year. Each family, staff member, volunteer, and donor brings her/his own light to fulfilling our mission. Together we help families thrive, neighborhoods regain strength and health, and the community find its vibrancy. Our work cannot be done alone. It relies upon the beauty and brilliance of your individual light.
May this holiday season fill you with all that your light needs to shine brightly so that you may continue to help us create the beacon of hope that Habitat Newburgh is to the families with which we partner and the community in which we we build.