What I Learned When Tradition Was Broken

By: Ms. O

For as long as I can remember, Christmas Eve meant burning bayberry candles. Growing up,  it was a given that after dinner, two bayberry tapers would be lit and would burn to the socket during the night. There were some years that we would mess around, running our finger through the flame, pretend to blow it out, but to my recollection, no one ever snuffed them out. It was meant to bring good luck….I was never sure why, so I had to google it and got this:

“Bayberry candles burned to the socket, bring health to the home and wealth to the pocket.”

I knew my grandparents burned them each Christmas Eve, as did my mom. When I married and moved away, I would do the same. My husband would have a fit…probably because he was in the safety division at work and could see eminent danger in leaving candles burning all night…but it HAD to be done….because it had always been done.

This year….on Christmas Eve….I opened my drawer that I kept my secret stash of bayberry tapers, only to find it empty. Panic set in…big time.

If you don’t know it, bayberry tapers are not an easy find…especially in the south. Christmas Eve is not the time to go looking. Throughout the day, I played the war of emotions….pondering how dire my circumstances will be if I don’t burn the “good luck” candles. I had never missed a year since 1980 when I moved out….

How could I have let this happen? What will happen to me now?

Would a bayberry Scentsy suffice? Glade makes a bayberry air freshener…I think. Maybe the mall would be worth fighting in the off chance that Yankee Candle would have some semblance of a bayberry candle that I could carve into a taper…ugh.

It was in my anguish that I reflected back over my life…the changes that came…not because of the “good luck” candles….but in spite of it.

My grandparents passed away…as did my aunt. Our family has had its share of heartache. We saw the oilfield in its heyday and then the bottom fall out of it. I lost a baby….said “goodbye to friends”…went through a divorce…the list goes on….even though I burned those candles each and every year…no matter what.

Constant Flame

What I have come to know is this: God was faithful through it all. In the wonderful mountain top events…God was there…as He was in the depth of my despair.  He is the constant flame.

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6

That comes from the last book in the Old Testament…Malachi 3:6…before the silent years…those 400 years between the Old and the New Testament. Malachi finishes with the promise of the Day of the Lord…of His coming…but it would be a while. The passage in Malachi 3:6 is a reminder to all…that God does not change…therefore we are not consumed.

So Christmas Eve passed this year without my burning of the bayberry tapers. I am not saying I won’t ever burn them again.  If I come across the candles before next year, I will most likely buy them so I can relive an old tradition in my family…but I know it is not a do-or-die situation. The world did not end the next day. Quite the opposite in fact.  This year….we had  something new…a granddaughter that reminds me of God’s faithfulness each and every time I gaze in her eyes.

linda and E_for blog

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow….amen.