One of the most moving stories from my childhood was “The Little Match Girl” ,  a  nameless little girl who was trying to sell goods and matches while walking the cold streets on a snowy winter evening.  I think of this little tale often when I see the lights in the windows of a house on a dark, cold night.  How comforting they are.  I know that soon I’ll be inside my own home where it is bright and warm.

Christmas isn’t always about merriment and laughter. Sometimes it’s about being subdued, pensive and quietly joyous.  Sometimes it’s about opening your home to a family in crisis or desperate need, and inviting them to your dinner table, not as a charity case, but as honored guests and friends.

There are pages written on the face of this child.  For at least tonight, she’s safe, warm and at peace.  Sometimes Christmas is about making sure that just one little girl is not on the outside and looking in, that she doesn’t have to find warmth and joy in a burning bundle of matches, and that she’ll awaken to a better day the next morning.