|The cold winds were beginning to blow, nipping at the heels of shoppers filling the streets in search of the perfect gift. There seemed to be a certain joy in the air - the holiday season was here.|
The clerk at the corner gift shop was putting the final touches on the window decorations. She placed a Hanukkah candle in the Menorah and lit the Christmas star atop the tree. She stood back for a moment, admiring her handiwork. Then she hurried off to tend to her chores.
All was quiet in the front window, but not for long. "Excuse me," said a voice. "Huh?" said another. "It's me - over here." It was the Hanukkah candle. "Why are you always here?" he asked the Christmas star. "I was just about to ask you the same question!" replied the star. "Every year it's the same thing. They unpack us from the box and put us in this window," continued the star. "Some stop to look at me and others admire you. But you can't hang from a tree like the other ornaments. You don't sparkle like tinsel. And I don't see how you could sit atop this tree - like me."
"Of course not," chuckled the candle. "I don't belong on your tree. I am a candle - a symbol of hope. People sing songs and celebrate when they light me each evening. You see, many, many years ago, a frightening King ruled the land. He wouldn't allow the people to pray and he put out the candle burning in their temple. One family used the last of their oil - just one day's supply - to keep that light aglow. Much to everyone's surprise, the candle stayed lit for 8 days until more oil arrived. Now people light me every year as a symbol of hope - remembering those who fought to keep me lit all throughout the year."
"I see," said the star. "And why do you sit perched on top of that tree year after year?" asked the candle. "As it turns out," replied the star in surprise, "I too am a symbol of hope to all who light me. Many, many years ago, a baby was born and laid in a manger in a stable. This baby brought eternal hope to the people who traveled from far-off lands to visit him, bringing gifts. A star was shining bright in the sky, leading them to where the baby lay. Now, I am a symbol of hope, reminding people of the baby's birth. Every year, people place me on the tree and celebrate with songs and gifts and the most delicious smelling foods."
The two were quiet for a moment, both deep in thought. Just then, a man stopped to admire the Hanukkah candle and the Menorah. All at once the star stretched out its points as wide as he could to shine a little extra light on the candle. The man moved on. A few minutes later, a child ran to the window to point to the star perched on the tree. Without even thinking, the Hanukkah candle straightened up as tall as he could and cast a glow over the star.
From that day on, the star and the candle had a new understanding of each other. Different, but alike, each bring celebration to the season. Now when the candle and the star sit side by side in the gift shop window, each works hard to help the other shine a little brighter - bringing hope to all who stop to visit.