Let’s Talk about Light

Happy Holidays to All!

What a strange year 2020 has been! And there’s good news-we’ve all survived the pandemic thus far. Keep up the great work of protecting yourself and your family by wearing masks and social distancing until we get through the vaccination process. Meanwhile, your friends at Booklover’s Bench want to help shine a light in the world. Each of our six authors contributed a message to our Holiday Greeting.

“Heartlight. Remember the Neil Diamond song about Elliot and ET? I love that song. And now that I have an Elliot of my own, the song means even more to me. Elliot is the youngest of my grandchildren. He recently turned four and along with his brother and three cousins, keeps my heartlight burning bright. We all need more heartlight in our lives, especially now. I hope you all have people, young and old, in your lives that turn on your own heartlights. Happy holidays!”—Lois Winston

“My first decorating task is to set up the wooden nut bowl centerpiece. My late father-in-law made it on his wood lathe and gave it to us when we were first married. Underneath is a piece of my mother’s crochet handiwork and the candle holders belonged to my grandmother. They’re underneath my husband’s glasswork and my mother’s oil paintings. When I stand back and view this little display, wonderful memories shine through these handmade gifts. Wishing you a very happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year.”—Cheryl Hollon

“To me, light can be the dawning of the day, the illumination of a room, the twinkling of Chanukah candles commemorating the oil that lasted eight days and a people who have endured, or simply what makes ideas and the things around me visible. Normally, light counterbalances the metaphysical aspects of my life. On rare occasions, the two combine creating joy – like the moment I first saw the product of the abstract wonderment after the birth of my baby’s baby. At that moment, any darkness in the world fell away.”—Debra H Goldstein

“I was raised Catholic back in the olden days of the Latin Mass. And like every child of that pre-1962 era, I can still remember the Latin responses, can still smell the sweet fragrance of incense, can still hear the traditional hymns. But when it came to church, what held my attention most in those days were the candles. Particularly, the banks of lighted votive candles in their metal racks that flickered in the dimly lit church day and night, a visual representation of prayer under the vigilant eyes of a plaster saint. And while I no longer am a practicing Catholic, candles continue their hold on me. Over the years, I’ve indulged my candle obsession by acquiring all manner of candleholders. Of course, the practical side of me remembers that I also have a house full of rambunctious dogs and climbing felines, which state of affairs does not mix well with open flames. My solution is the battery-powered votives lights that flicker like real candles, and which I buy by the box-full. When the mood strikes—particularly around the holidays—I gather my candleholders and turn on my faux flames, and then watch in child-like awe as my replica candles glow and dance in the dark.”—Diane A.S Stuckart

“When I think of the holidays, I envision a menorah lit with eight branched candles. Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights, representative of a miracle that occurred in days of old. When the temple of Jerusalem was recovered from Syrian oppressors, it was rededicated but there was only enough oil to last for one day to light the ritual candelabrum. Instead, it burned for eight nights. This was declared a miracle that has been celebrated ever since. Read more about it here – https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/hanukkah

When I was young, we kids received a present each of eight nights. I carried over this tradition to our children although their gifts got progressively more expensive. Since we didn’t have a Christmas tree, we laid out the wrapped gifts on our living room coffee table. We still follow this practice today, although now we gather on one night only and open all the presents at once. The best part of this holiday is the light of love while gathering with family and celebrating together.”—Nancy J Cohen

“I love photography. Early in the mornings, I capture vibrant sunrises, where light erases the darkness, and in the evenings, I shoot dynamic sunsets, where darkness triumphs over light. Opposite sides of the same coin, and yet, after the many gyrations of 2020, I long for light to banish this dark cloud!

To me, light represents hope and love. I’m very fond of Christmas tree lights and the glow they bring to my home. And I’m most thankful for my faith and the enduring symbolism of the Light of the World. May we all meet 2021 with hearts full of Hope, Love, Peace, and Joy.”—Maggie Toussaint