Attending a Hanukkah celebration was a new opportunity for me. I recently participated with friends in a candle lighting ceremony. Such a moving and powerful experience. The crowd attending the party was a mixed group - of various backgrounds and religious beliefs. Yet, everyone felt included and welcomed. The prayers for a peaceful planet were ones that we all felt were important. My little story about seeing candles in a window while I drove alone on a dark, wintery road resonated with others.
The light of a candle can pierce the darkness and gloom.
May be all be a candle light to others - wherever we are.
One Christmas, my 6 year old son sat waiting while everyone unwrapped heaps of lovely presents. His cousins and brother received wonderful toys! His excitement and anticipation began to change to anxiety. Had he been forgotten? Were there no presents for him? Finally, three wrapped gifts arrived in rapid sucession.They piled up beside him, as he sat in his pajamas and housecoat. He opened them quickly, ripping aside the brightly coloured paper.
Then, tears flowed. Three pairs of pajamas.
Lesson - sometimes we don't need useful presents. Especially when we are six years old.
And don't all of us have a six year old somewhere deep inside?
I think we do.
Christmas Stories are always a favourite tradition during the holiday season. Everyone seems to have their favourite movie or tv show. But for me, there's something extra special about Christmas stories - especially when read aloud...on Christmas Eve.
A favourite of mine is Charles Dickens 'Christmas Carol.' One year, I had the honour of reading a section for a CBC recording that is still shown on local cable tv. I had a ball dressing up in what passed for a 'period costume', and ringing a large bell. I even dropped a big pile of chains on the floor - I guess I was the ghost of Christmas past.
But there are other great stories..among them - 'The Gift of the Magi,' 'King John's Christmas', and a 'Child's Christmas in Wales' - my favouritest of all. The uncles were wonderful, and I loved the snowball fight and the fire. Christmas doesn't always come wrapped up in pretty paper with a bow on top.
Read stories aloud - they are rare gifts, indeed.
I've just learned that my short story 'Sing We Joyous All Together' will be published shortly before Christmas. It's a bitter sweet tale.
I worked on this tale for about two years. Of course, like many stories that are written - much of the tale comes from a real life experience.
And I do believe, that sometimes...especially at Christmas, our wishes can come true.
Sharon Frayne is a writer and artist. She is a member of the Canadian Author's Association, the Niagara Writer's Circle and the Pumphouse Art Gallery. She looks for the universal experience and the mystery in everyday things.