A CANDLE IN THE WINDOW
"When the Savior shall appear...that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy."
—DOCTRINE & COVENANTS 130:2
According to Stephen L. Tanner, "in Russia in the early nineteenth century, those wishing to receive callers set lighted candles in a window on the street, and any acquaintances seeing the signal knew they would be welcome to stop in. A couple bored at home would send out a servant to see if there were any tapers in neighboring windows. Thus, those craving fellowship and conversation were brought together by this simple signal."¹
As I further researched this custom, I learned that candles are widely recognized as a symbol of Christ the light. In medieval times, Irish Christians began the custom of placing a lighted candle in the window to show that the stranger was welcome to enter in the name of Christ and share in the Christmas abundance.2 How appropriate to refer to a candle in a window as the Christ-candle. Just as a candle in the window signals welcome, the Savior is always available to those who need him.
Parents can make clear the symbolism of leaving a candle in the window by keeping a plate of cookies and warm apple cider for any modern-day wayfarers, friends and neighbors, who may knock at the door.3
"We are all hungry for deep relationships, and few of us has had too many of them. Our society is mobile; employment and schooling cause families to move frequently. This means that a neighbor who waits too long to break the ice with a new family may find the family gone before a meaningful relationship has been established, and thus an opportunity for service—for the gospel to really work—has been lost."4