But for my mother this was more than just a folksy little adage. Growing up there was always a bayberry taper burning in our home on Christmas Eve. My mother would light the candle in the morning to make sure it would be burned down before the day was done, and the candle had to be a bayberry; a pine or balsam-scented wouldn't do. I can't recall a Christmas Eve in my mother's home without a burning bayberry candle.
And so years later when my mom and my Aunt Mary - my mother's sister who lived with my mom and who my mom cared for - began spending Christmases with my family, it was likewise required that in my home a bayberry candle be burned down to the socket on Christmas Eve in order that we all might have health and wealth in the new year.
I recall that one year I forgot to procure a bayberry candle for Christmas Eve, much to my mom's dismay. Hence the day before Christmas Eve I was zipping around town looking for a bayberry candle, but there were none to be had. By a stroke of good fortune, however, it turned out that the mother of one of my daughter's boyfriends happened to have a bayberry candle on hand which she graciously gave to us. And so Christmas Eve was saved and we were assured another year of health and wealth.
And so on December 8 I ordered a bayberry candle from Amazon and was informed that my candle would be delivered the following week. When it hadn't arrived by the morning of December 24 I resigned myself to burning an ordinary taper, knowing that it held no cosmic power, yet deciding to try it anyway on the chance that I might get some credit for my expenditure and labor and the fact that my lack of a real bayberry candle wasn't my fault.
My "bayberry" candle.
But I lit it instead on Christmas morning, knowing that its purported powers were by then gone but, again, hoping that maybe I'd be granted token amounts of health and wealth - in fact, they can keep the wealth, I'd be glad for just the health - for my extra effort and intention.
2. Lighting the Luminaires.
3. A Concert for the Pets
But, thankfully, not for long. If our house could not be filled with people and live music this Christmas Eve, it would be soon filled virtually, as our son Tommy and his girlfriend Emily had invited us to a virtual Christmas Eve concert they were performing for the family.
I'm not sure I can explain exactly why the concert was so much fun, but it was.
In fact it was wonderful.