I am always attracted to the edge of the flame – the flickering boundary between the candle and darkness, where the fire seems to dim to a burnt orange. My eyes hover there, and it is in that place that I find the most meaning.
Chanukah is known as the Festival of Lights, but Christmas and Kwanzaa could also carry that label. Through its trappings and teachings, each holiday compels us to focus on light and warmth; the light of shared values, the warmth of family, and the brightness of hope and peace. We are told in the verses of our worship that, unlike so many candles, our holiday lights need not flicker and die in the space of a few hours, provided we make it a point to carry their light with us throughout the year to come.
I am writing this blog in a bleak time of economic uncertainty. So many families are under stress and our leaders seem incapable of giving more than lip service to the commonality of our purpose. But it is precisely this commonality of purpose that marks the readership of this blog and others like it.
The website of the advisory group Vistage features the statement: “wherever you see a business, someone once made a courageous decision.” That statement resonates with me, and I have cited it in other entries. I see those courageous decisions as individual choices to keep the darkness at bay. These choices…these decisions to start and persevere with businesses – especially in times uncertain – live on the edge of the flame and each, in its own way, carries with it hope.
The coming year will bring us large events to consider and experience. But in the midst of the tumult which will, no doubt, characterize a good part of 2012, let us remember the brightness of this holiday season, conspire together to push back the darkness, and find within ourselves the courage to live the words we pray.
Happy Holidays from Eliot Wagonheim and Wagonheim Law.