20 December 2018
Irish tradition held that a candle in your window signaled that your household as willing and able to provide a night's shelter for a traveler. Such hospitality included supper, a place to sleep out of the weather and breakfast. No payment was expected. Such kindnesses were very important to itinerant workers returning to their families for the holidays.
The tradition grew so that many modern families display candles in their windows for the holidays. I wonder if they really understand what that means? I put candles and lanterns on my windows knowing full well what may be asked of my household. We could easily afford the bed space and the meals if someone asked for that assistance. I would be skeptical, but if that's all they asked for, I'll let them in.
How many of my neighbors with candles in their windows are willing to do the same? We've become fearful of strangers. There's a lot of crazy or dangerous people out there. Horror flicks are full of them. Even the nightly news tells of such horrors.
Let's face it: Most people are honest and even a little kind. This applies to the homeless as well. For the vast majority of us, we can unbend from our suspicions long enough to be kind. That's if we're willing to take the risk.