The welcoming warmth of candlelight is an old-fashioned feature of this blessed time of year. From tapers to pillars, from elegant collections wreathed in evergreens to a single candle set beside an open Bible, candles in all forms are an integral part of this tradition-rich season.
Today's candles are a far cry from the simple flame-topped lights made of beeswax or tallow, used throughout history as mankind sought to tame the darkness.
But, though modern candles are no longer as vital to daily life as their early counterparts, they have become a beloved accessory in settings from homes to businesses to churches for the warm glow they provide.
In addition, modern candles offer an almost endless variety of forms and colors. It's enough to overwhelm even a fashion maven like Martha Stewart.
With the candle-rich Christmas season upon us, sales of these glowing accents are increasing daily. Just ask the folks who work at such candle-centered businesses as Findley Lake's popular Our Own Candle Company.
They can tell you that the once lowly candle has come into its own in recent years. Among the favorites for a festive flair are the massive pillar candles with three or four wicks. Topped by a multiple dancing flame, one of these impressive items, ringed by sprigs of evergreens, can serve as a fitting centerpiece for seasonal festivities.
Though the popularity of the candle has grown steadily through the years, the most welcome change in what was once only utilitarian, has been the addition of scents.
Among true candle fans, the small votive candles offering a wide variety of aromas are a welcome addition to any room's decor. At this time of year, the Christmas Tree and Bayberry scented candles are top sellers. But there is an almost endless selection of other scents including Grape Juice, Lilac, Apple Pie and Gingerbread.
According to those in the know in the home decorating industry, the candle craze can be attributed to today's "nesting" trend, the desire a growing number of folks have to spend more time in the comfort and safety of their own homes.
Candles, considered to be an affordable luxury, allow us to create an island of peace and tranquility. There's a special kind of relaxation in watching the dancing of a candle flame, especially when accompanied by a favorite scent, like apple pie, to bring back warm memories.
And candle glow softens the outlines of our familiar world. The romantic lighting even makes people look better than in the sometimes-harsh glare of electric lamps.
During this Christmas season, especially, the warmth of candlelight seems the fitting illumination for family activities. It takes us back to earlier, simpler days when life moved more slowly, when singing carols 'round the tree or reading the Christmas story before the fire helped us to focus on what this season is truly about.
May the warmth and magic of this matchless season surround you and your loved ones like an everlasting candle flame.