Wordsmithing Magic from the Crossroads

Shining Lights in the Darkest Nights

Illustration of the shining Christmas star on the starry night sky

The Final Candles of the Christmas Advent Prayer Wreath

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.
Hamilton Wright Mabie

Today is the final Sun Day before Christmas, for those of you counting down to this happy holiday.

And then, of course, that magical morning so beloved by Christendom arrives tomorrow.

Thus, tonight at dusk, you will light the fourth candle of your wreath. In many denominations, the fourth candle may represent Peace, or Purity.

For those lighting candles for Christmas, your final candle in our wreath circle will be the one in the Center. It is nearly universally considered the Christ Candle.

Opinions vary as to whether it should be lit at midnight tonight, or first thing Christmas morning (tomorrow). So that is completely up to your preference.

With its light, may you honor the Bringer of Light, and vow to renew your own part in the ancient promise of faith, hope, and love that was given on this most holy night.

For we all can agree that the greatest of these is love.

Advent candles for Christmas - fourth candle lit

Although many of you have probably seen it before, for me, one of the great pleasures of this time out of time is to hear oft-repeated stories. So keep scrolling down, as I offer my yearly once-upon-a-time tale. 

I hope it will inspire you, whatever your beliefs may be, for it is a powerful spell of transformation and abundance. This has been my own tradition on Christmas Eve for many years. Join with me. Share with others!

Love and joy come to you,
~ Beth

Russian Christmas character: Ded Moroz (Father Frost) with gifts bag in the winter forest

There are two ways of spreading light; to be
The candle or the mirror that reflects it.
~ Edith Wharton

This will cost between 10 and 30 or so dollars. More, of course, if you want. Start slowly if you wish, but I would not be surprised if, in coming years, the amount you decide to spend moves up and up. I know it really has for me!

It’s very simple. Here’s how it began.

Once upon a time, many years ago now, by pure coincidence (yeah, right!), I was shopping for a cheap shower curtain liner at one of those dollar stores, in a neighborhood I don’t usually frequent. It just happened to be the afternoon of Christmas Eve.

I couldn’t help but notice who was shopping in that dollar store toy department on Christmas Eve: people who were desperate; people who were clearly scraping together everything they had for that last minute chance to make their children smile. People struggling against overwhelming odds.

Sure, maybe not everyone in the store. But most. Without a doubt.

So, I got a crazy idea. I happened (oh, yes, just another coincidence!) to have a bunch of one dollar bills in my wallet. I surreptitiously pulled them out, and started tucking each one here and there among the toys.

Not so hidden that someone might not find them, but not too obvious, either.

I deliberately skipped over the guns and violence-promoting toys. I didn’t stick them inside books, since I felt that the odds would be fairly low for that particular book to be picked up, and the money put to use.

And, oh yes, I was also a bit concerned that my sneaky behavior might be interpreted as shop-lifting, instead of shop-putting. So I was careful not to act too suspiciously.

After I planted my money, I paid for my shower curtain and left. I do not recommend hanging around to see the results. That would come much too close to stroking the ego. Plus, I believe it’s best at that point to hand the rest of the job over to Mystery.

In fact, I highly recommend the secrecy of it. Until a few years ago, when I began sharing it here with you, I had only told two people ever about my annual Christmas Eve errand.

I have decided to let you in on my secret, because wouldn’t it be fun if magical mystery miracle money started appearing in lots of places, on a day when families could sure use it.

Over the years, my investment has increased, and I include fives and tens when I can. I also have started placing some near the infants’ clothing, the kids’ coats, the shoes, and other necessities.

I know that every dollar, even if it is only found much later by a clerk doing inventory, is well spent.

And by the time I walk out the door, I am the wealthiest woman alive!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Linda DuBois December 24, 2023, 11:58 am

Such a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing it with us!
Solstice and Christmas Blessings to you and yours ❤️🎄❤️🐦‍⬛

Beth December 24, 2023, 4:51 pm

Blessings and thank you. May your holy days be filled with happiness and abundance.

Niamh December 24, 2023, 12:37 pm

🌟So shines a good deed in a naughty world!

Wishing everyone a happy and peaceful holiday.🎄


Beth December 24, 2023, 4:52 pm

It is just so much more fun to be nice (except for sometimes being good naughty! 🙂 )

Niamh December 25, 2023, 5:33 am

So true!😉

Randy December 24, 2023, 1:01 pm

Dear Beth,

I love your story! Thanks so much for the inspirational message.

Happy Christmas to you and to whoever reads this. Keep the faith, and I wish you much joy, peace, good health and most of all love, this Holiday Season and always.

Love and blessings,


Beth December 24, 2023, 5:02 pm

Thank you, Randy. And right back to you as well. Blessings during the holidays and all the days to come!

nofixedstars December 24, 2023, 1:08 pm

i love your money hiding tradition! so many in need, and the little emotional lift provided when finding it might just be as helpful as the money itself.

Beth December 24, 2023, 5:02 pm

Sprinkling a little magic wherever we can, right? Blessings dearest one.

Kim Werfel December 24, 2023, 1:17 pm

True Christmas Story
Early December one year, my brother called to chat and offhandedly mentioned that he had lost his wallet. I brainstormed with him to recall the last time he used it and where it might be.
“Did you check your coat pockets?” I asked. Under the sofa cushions? Car glove compartment? How about your desk top drawer?”
“No, no, he quickly said dismissively, I looked there already. I’ll find it.”
During the following weekly call, I steered the conversation back to the lost wallet.
“Haven’t found it yet” he said irritably.
“You need to ask your angels” I replied. They can’t help or interfere in your life unless you ask and give them permission.” I knew this wouldn’t go over well, but I firmly believed it.
“Nah, I don’t need help. I’ll find it.” I could feel his eye-roll at the mention of angels. But he knew this about me already.
This went on into late December.
“Did you ask Spirit for help?” I would say.
“God’s got much more important things to do than to help me find my wallet.”
“If God wanted to get your attention, hitting you in the wallet would be the best way to do it” I said with a smile and the sarcastic, playful intonation that siblings commonly shared. You’ve got to ask first to be helped.
During the next call he mentioned that he had $1,000 in cash in the wallet. I said I just knew that if he asked for help, he would find it.
He said, “Alright. I’ll make a deal with God.” (Now I rolled my eyes, as I thought he was just trying to shut me up.)
“If I find the wallet, I’ll give all the money to charity.”
I said, “You better not make that promise lightly.”
A few days later I received a phone call.
“Holy S*#@! This really works!”
Seems on his early, pre-dawn morning commute to Brooklyn, he would pass a church steeple that was lit up. He asked God for help, making the deal to give the money to charity. As if God wouldn’t just help him to help him. Ray wasn’t one to ask for something for nothing.
“You better keep your promise,” I said.
“I’ve got it all worked out. It’s between me and God,” he replied in a big brother tone of “that’s the end of this conversation.”
We moved on to other topics.
But I was intrigued and wanted to know what he was going to do.
Weeks later I finally got it out of him.
Seems on his commute to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, he would pass a Soup Kitchen.
Ray was quite a connoisseur, a fabulous cook and a bit of a food snob. He stopped his car and sauntered up to the large pots of soup and was shocked at what they were eating. “It looked like dish water – no meat at all!”
Ray was well-off, and would go to a fine butcher for all his own cuts of meat.
The Soup Kitchen was run by a Protestant minister who showed Ray around. There were lots of empty donated refrigerators. He was moved to do something.
He took his wallet and in his signature, grandiose style put $1,000 in cash on the counter and said he wanted chop meat in 5 lb. packages sent to the address of the Soup Kitchen. He didn’t want bigger packages to be opened, not used and spoiled. He wanted it sent anonymously. It was right before Christmas.
The butcher and his workers were so moved by his gesture that they chipped in sausages, chickens and extra meats.
Ray continued to do this every year after.
And that’s the Spirit of the Season, my friends.
Merry Christmas!

Beth December 24, 2023, 5:07 pm

Oh Kim.. I have tears rolling down my cheeks. Yes, you have to ask. And yes, blessings and goodness are REAL. I love that this opened the gates for a lifetime of giving for him.
Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful miracle story with us.

Happy Holidays to you and your family…

Christy E December 24, 2023, 1:18 pm

I LOVE this idea! I live in a pretty nice neighborhood, not McMansions but certainly nice enough, and I have a good size 4 bedroom, two living spaces house. But my subdivision of houses is right next to a low-income apartment complex and on the other side, town houses that look pretty inexpensive and old and there are many immigrants. We like the area due to the diversity, but we also feel our privilege, often in an uncomfortable way (for example I was watching an elderly woman in the townhouses try to make it to the small strip mall just down the street, all bundled up, and using her walker. I SO badly wanted to stop and ask her if she would like a ride, and I’d wait for her and drive her home, but I wasn’t sure if that would be scary for her or appropriate. I never so appreciated having a nice car.

I was in the dollar store the other day getting last minute wrapping paper, and was in a nice area, and it was just lots of fairly well to do people – I could tell by their kids name brand expensive coats and stuff. Then I stopped at the one in that strip mall near the townhouses, and for sure, different crowd. I needed one quick thing, grabbed and went, again, feeling bad about the privilege I hold, and wishing I could do something to share the funds that come from my highly educated husband, who has a really good paying job with lots of great benefits. But I never know quite WHAT to do. I will for SURE use this idea next holiday season. We could easily put aside $100 and put $5 & $10 bills around the store and leave, as again, it’s NOT about ego. I may even do this time to time in the food section, which is where I know some of the people in our area have to go for groceries. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful idea!

Beth December 24, 2023, 5:12 pm

Oh, yes! I, too, have started tucking money into the food section. Especially if I go to a shop where there are very few grocery stores in the area, because I’ll know for sure it’s the only place to shop for food for a lot of people.

I am so happy to welcome you to our secret legion of kindness and magic. 💚

Raven December 24, 2023, 1:59 pm

Beth, that is such an amazing, inspiring thing to do. Bit lat for us to do that her in the UK for Christmas Eve as all the shops are shut now but a great thing to do next year….. and maybe it doesn’t have to be limited to Christmas Eve anyway…… magical… So glad you shared it with us.

Beth December 24, 2023, 5:13 pm

{{ Raven! }}
Yes we can do it any time. It was tricky today because everything was either closed on Sunday, or closed extra early. Looking forward to filling in some gaps later on. It really is tremendous fun!

Aimee December 24, 2023, 4:18 pm

Thank you, Beth, for once again posting this! I’ve read this generous act of yours previous Christmas Eves but always too late to act upon it. (obviously, hadn’t remembered it on my own). Happily, this year I saw it early enough to head over to a dollar store in a moderate/low income area. My big-city husband was most dubious about this, stating I was setting myself up for being accused of suspicious behavior like shoplifting. But honestly, I figured I would be capable of avoiding any misplaced suspicion, and sure enough, I was. It was a really feeling to carry out this mission.

And I figured I’d be okay because of a very nice synchronicity that had happened earlier in the day: there’s a rock-painting group in our neighborhood and we’ve had the surprise and delight of being gifted with these rocks before. And what should show up on our front porch steps this morning but a small rock with a charming Nativity scene painted on it! I have a Nativity collection that I display every year, but it’s likely that the rock painter didn’t know this. But now their creative work will be part of my Nativity collection in future years!

May you have a happy and blessed holiday season, Beth.

Beth December 24, 2023, 5:19 pm

Oh, Aimee! I love that! Soooo glad you got to join in this year!

Yes, I admit I am a little nervous sometimes, but one look at the long lines by the cash register, and the harried clerks there, and the faces of anxious parents, and my little cares vanish.

And besides, I truly do believe that the Spirits of Good, or angels, or whoever the Invisible Helpers are are absolutely watching over us to ensure our errands are completed without trouble.

Just as Providence ensures that the right people find their way to the magic money.

Sue King December 24, 2023, 9:06 pm

I love this so much!!! What a wonderful idea and like others have said, this is something we can do anytime. I’m already getting ideas of how I can do this in stores around where I live. I try to keep fives and ones in my wallet to give to people on the street whenever I can – this would make a terrific addition to paying it forward. I truly do believe that every act of kindness and compassion, no matter how small helps the universe work better and that we are truly here to help one another and all life we share the planet with. Sitting here with a grin on my face thinking of how I can be a little helper elf 🙂 Blessings and light to you and all of us! <3

Sarah Baxter December 24, 2023, 9:09 pm

This is such a beautiful spell of generosity, compassion, and hope. As someone who has frequently struggled financially *and* loves to give generously, this is some thing that I would love to do in the hope that we can spread more kindness and more cheer.

The time you enjoy wasting
is not wasted time.

~ Bertrand Russell

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