By Rogene "Jeanne" McPherson
One recent morning, I crawled out of bed hearing the words to the children’s song “This Little Light of Mine.” Was God trying to tell me something? Was it a flashback from my childhood when we sang this song with glee in Sunday school and church? Or, was I recalling the little candle wreaths I make for nursing homes.
I’ll get to the God-thing a little later in the story, so on to the second possibility. I wasn’t an outspoken child like I am as an adult, but even I had fun holding up my index finger to symbolize a brightly burning candle. Then with verse three, ten children and I really became animated when we sang “Hide it under a bushel, no!” as we put our hand over the pretend flame and withdrew shouting, “NO.”
On to possibility number three. The photo above illustrates what the little candle wreath looks like. I begin by cutting scraps of Christmas fabric into 7-inch lengths about 1 inch in width. I typically cut nine of three different colors and repeat the color pattern every three ties. I wasn’t in Girl Scouts, but I think this is called a double knot, which I tie twice onto a canning jar ring. I flip the switch at the bottom of the LED candle, place the candle in the glass holder and celebrate having a little candlelight that looks somewhat like a flame. Much better than burning the house down.
For some nursing home residents, this little candle may be the only Christmas decoration in their room. Other homes have used these as table decorations or door prizes for Christmas parties. I also encourage my friends to share the little candle wreath with a lonely neighbor. Simple, easy to make, and very inexpensive, we may lighten someone’s day not because of the small amount of light given out, but by showing how we care about them and their well-being. Some lights are visible. Sometimes a light shines as love.
Back to possibility number one. Was God trying to tell me something especially as it relates to Christmas? If so, here’s my theory: God wants the best of me and it’s not how much energy I use running from store to store. Or my skill – or lack thereof – in making Christmas cookies. He doesn’t care about the number of Christmas cards I send telling about my life in 2023 or the number of snowmen arranged throughout my living room.
God is love and He likely cares how many minutes I sit down with a friend and listen, really listen, to their story. Does He care about how many hugs and kisses I give my family, especially my grandchildren? And does He care about the many ways I can tell them how special they are to me? Instead of shouting “no” as in the little light of mine song, I’ll try to yell “yes” to the gift of time.
I don’t know which answer is correct as to the three questions I pose in the first paragraph. I know Christmas has become a competition for our money, time, and even our talent. I also know I want something different, and I invite you to discover, like me, new ways to rekindle the flame within.
Rogene “Jeanne” McPherson, from the Centerville area, is a regular contributor to the Linn County Journal. She recently published a book about her experiences entitled Posts from the Country, Adventures in Rural Living. It is available online in both virtual and printed editions. Copies are on the shelves at all Linn County libraries.