When I was growing up, times were sometimes hard and money was sometimes tight. I can recall my Mom lighting a “money candle” more than once.
What is a “money candle?” you might ask.
It was a simple, long-lasting, green jar candle. There was nothing magical (or superstitious) about it. Mom would light the money candle to serve as her reminder to pray. And pray she did. Morning and night she prayed, and the money candle would remained lighted until we received the provision that we needed. Sometimes the provision came in the form of a “blessed handshake.” Sometimes it came in a box of groceries left on the doorstep by an anonymous donor. Once it arrived in a wad of bills tucked into an envelope and stuffed under the windshield wiper of our beater station wagon. Regardless, until the provision came, Mom prayed and the candle stayed lit. Sometimes it was lit for a few days. Some winters, when river barge traffic would slow and Dad would get laid off, it would remain lit for weeks on end. A few times, one candle would be replaced with a twin.
I remember saying to my Mom once, “Mommy, you ever complain? You just light the money candle, but you never complain.” Her response? “Because we’re rich.” I was dumbfounded, and apparently it showed (I was only six, okay?). Mom smiled wisely and said, “Our blessings count.”
There are six of us kids, and that year Mom had to tell each of us that we could only ask for one gift for Christmas. She made sure to point out that we may not be able to get that, either. My sister, who was five years old at the time, said that all she wanted was a box of love.
On Christmas morning, as we each took turns opening our gift, Sis could be seen shaking her box softly. It didn’t make any noise. When she opened it and looked inside, she started crying and said, “Mom, my box is empty.” Mom shook her head, tears streaming down her face, and replied, “No, sweetheart, that box is full of love.”
My sister’s face immediately became a ray of sunshine and she started jumping up and down. You’d have thought she’d just unwrapped a pony. What she unwrapped, though, was far better because she had received exactly what she had asked for. She didn’t know that there was another box hiding with her name on it. It didn’t matter to her, though, because all she had wanted was that box of love.
It’s been nearly thirty years since that Christmas morning, and each year, my Mom or I carry on the tradition and give my Sister a “box of love.”
Because our blessings count, and the love of family is one of the greatest blessings there is.
Mercy recognizes the stress we put on ourselves and our families over the holidays. They want to remind us that ‘Our greatest blessing is to see others blessed.’ One way we can do this is to pause, list our blessings, and share them with others. Let’s count our blessings together www.ourblessingscount.com
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Mercy. The opinions and text are all mine.