It was December of 1922. Mrs. J.T. Montgomery, preparing to spend her first Christmas in her fine new home at 1300 Buchanan, decided she wanted to decorate her Federal house by placing real candles in each of the front windows on all three floors. Thus, a tradition was born.
The Montgomery’s lived in the house and lighted Christmas candles through the holidays of 1966, and now, for forty-tow years this coming Christmas, my family will have lighted the candles. But this year, we hope to be joined by the whole neighborhood in this beautiful old custom as 1300 Buchanan lights up for it’s 87th holiday season.
Of course, there is deep significance in this tradition: We are lighting the way for the coming of the Christ Child, who is Himself the Light of the World.
Somewhere along the way, wax was supplanted by electricity. However, at least once, there was a humorous incident involving the real wax candles Mrs. J.T. Montgomery used. She ordered them by the large box-full–enough to last through the holidays.
It was her habit to give generous amounts of food to poor families at Christmas time. One Christmas, she instructed a family retainer to deliver the packed food boxes to the families she designated. The elderly man proceeded to load the Montgomery car and duly made his rounds.
Several days later, Mrs. Montgomery encountered a woman from one of the recipient families. “Oh, Mrs. Montgomery,” she said, “Thank you so much for the big box of candles!”
May our neighborhood display of window candles this year bring us and our community a measure of beauty and pleasure and be a reminder of it’s joyous significance.