A Candle In The Window-An Ancient Irish Custom There are so many different traditions surrounding Christmas, throughout the world~ each country has its own distinctive customs, shaped by its own particular culture. Most have their roots in the past and still exist today, despite efforts to hi-jack them,by our consumer driven, and politically correct society. St Francis of Assisi-the poverello (or the little poor one)- revived in the 14th century, the Christmas crib or manger; those who were there, gazed in wonder at what St. Francis had re-created for them. His re-creation-in its own way – resonated the light-brighter than any number of candles- that radiated from The First Crib in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus. The poverello’s crib is now a traditional part of Christmas wherever Christians may be. In Ireland there is Christmas tradition, handed down from ancient times, and still very much alive today-‘The candle in the window’. It is one of my most enduring images of Christmas that I carry within my heart, a memory that I hold steadfast to, from my first visit to Ireland ( which is carried on in my home in Australia every Christmas) – the ancient Irish custom of placing a lighted candle in a front window of a house on Christmas eve. The large lighted candle is placed there after dark, and not extinguished until after midnight. It is a symbol of welcome to Joseph and Mary, who despite their need, were refused shelter in the inn; by this symbol, we offer shelter to them and to their Infant, Jesus. The great Irish novelist Maurice Walsh said the lighted candle was’ a light to guide the blessed virgin home and she in her need’ .It is a whole countryside opening its doors and its hearts, to a young couple, who could find no place to shelter. My year has been a roller coaster ride of mishaps, and adventure, some yet unfinished, but as Christmas nears, I wish each and all of you a happy and safe time, may the time you spend with your families be warm and full of joy, and as we near the hour of frivolity may the dash to the finish line leave your glass half full or half empty, I wish you all well with your research, and hope that your brick walls like mine gets a lot of crack’s in it. Hugs to all from Cara Christmas 2014.