I’ve just been reading about Scandinavian winters (brr!) and the investment these northern clime neighbors make in the coziest of surroundings, the warmest of woolen throws piled into big woven baskets by the enormous open fireplace (ablaze, of course!), thick socks, sherpa slippers, hot chocolate (with the addition of an ounce or two of something more bracing), and candles everywhere! All this cocooned in natural, light-colored wood walls and floors, whites and off-whites, so soothing, so inviting! As a big fan of candles, I’m focusing there, on the wax component of this ‘hygge’ (pronounced: hyoo’-guh – a Danish word that means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Cosying up with a loved one for a movie, that’s hygge, too). Maybe it’s in the flame, authentic, alive, ever-changing, mesmerizing. Even when the wax drips, to me there’s something honest and unpredictable, a bit messy, a bit of a nuisance to clean up, but comforting, bohemian, enticing. The long, cold nights are welcomed because of, not in spite of, the required effort to boost the cuddle factor, to welcome the excuse to stay inside or to welcome the allure of crackling fireside and flickering flame after a bone-chilling sleigh ride through snow-laden, snow-hushed, winter woods.

We’ve inherited the descriptor, ‘light of the world’ from the Light of the world. We are sticks of wax, candles, with a braided center, a wick, whose aim is to be set aflame, reveal its potential, and drive out gloom, darkness, the denial of Truth. And like candles, we are consumed in our lighting, our burning, the sharing of our light. The world of 2022 in which we live is in deep darkness, and desperately searching for any source of illumination for the path ahead. As children of the Light, it is our holy privilege to spend our pillar of wax, providing light where we can, as we can (and not where we can’t, as we can’t). May all our interactions throughout this calendar year introduce hygge to those around us. They may not be able to pronounce what it is they’ve received from us, but they’ll know, and be warmed by, its effect. What else can a candle wish for? How much happiness does a totally spent candle know? Anybody got a match? PD

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