Lighting candles of hope and faith

Community members open their hearts to help others

People all over the world are lighting candles at this time of year, looking deep into their flames for warmth, comfort and hope.

No matter if those candles are on an advent display, a menorah, a kinara, a Buddhist shrine or a single candlestick to mark the passing of the solstice, people hold the candles and flames as symbolic of heritage and faith.

In these darkest times of the year, with the days their shortest in the Northern Hemisphere, people can use a little hope.

At times we tend to focus on the negative, to get caught up in the darkness. But in this holiday season, let’s instead focus on joy and hope – and that light that can burn within each of us as individuals and a community.

We’ve seen that joy, hope and faith in recent weeks as people have opened their hearts – and their pocketbooks – to help the less fortunate among us.

From sharing trees to food collections and from toy drives to hat projects, residents of Okanogan and Ferry counties have shared the spirit of the season with their neighbors. Each year, even as the economy continues to be a challenge to more and more people, folks provide a glimmer of hope – that candle flame – to those in need.

We can see the hope in our children, too. Many work tirelessly to help with Christmas baskets, fundraisers, toy collections and other projects.

They’ve also shown that spirit of giving through the stories they write for The Chronicle’s annual Christmas writing contest. With this year’s theme of “What would you do if you could visit the North Pole?” the door was open for youngsters to write that they would ask Santa for all sorts of presents.

Some did, but many, many of them wrote about how they would help Santa out of one predicament or another, or how they would make sure children all around the world didn’t miss out on Christmas. You can read many of those stories in the special section within this issue.

Again, that spirit of giving shines through.

As we celebrate Christmas today, we hope you’re lighting your own candle – literally or figuratively – to brighten a little corner of the world for someone. Merry Christmas.

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