(Host) As a difficult year comes to a close, commentator Edith Hunter
is thinking about darkness, light and the challenges that lie ahead.
When I was a little girl growing up outside Boston, my mother used to
take my sister, my brother and me, to the Repertory Theater to enjoy
children’s live theatrical events.
Across the front of the huge
stage hung a great brown curtain, and in the center of the curtain was
painted an enormous flaming candle. Under the candle were the words:
"How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a
naughty world. William Shakespeare."
Except for Tony Sarg’s
Marionettes, I don’t remember any productions that we saw on the stage.
But I do remember the curtain, the candle and the words below it.
for me, is the celebration of the gradual return of light into a
darkening world. So far, mankind has not been able to alter this
reality. And it is a very moving reality. As darkness threatens to
engulf us, the progression toward total darkness is stayed, the winter
solstice occurs, and very gradually the days begin to lengthen.
is also, for me, the celebration of the birth of a baby, indeed of all
babies. They are the promise of the future. They are like light coming
back into the world. They are like that candle throwing its beams into
our naughty world.
And what a "naughty world" it is, although
the word is hardly strong enough. The "level playing field" that we
would like to think exists, is now full of what appear to be
unbridgeable chasms. We have a greater discrepancy between the rich and
the poor than there has ever been, and we have an ever growing number of
people living in poverty. Good housing, good schools, and good jobs are
increasingly out of reach for a vast majority in our country – never
mind the world .
We have more people locked up in jail, than
ever before. We believe in punishment, not forgiveness. The correctional
system, it seems, does very little correcting.
We accept war as
a method of settling disagreements with other countries. We really
don’t believe in turning the other cheek, in loving our enemies.
at least at Christmas, we can light candles as symbols of the returning
light. And we can celebrate the birth of babies, although I question
how seriously our society takes the responsibility of raising those
babies. Raising children successfully is hard work and should have our
So, little candle, throw your light into the naughty world. We may not like what we see, but we ought to see it.