It was luminaria night here last Saturday.
Here in Bethlehem, luminaria night is a fund raiser for New Bethany Ministries and many people participate.
Luminaria Night started nineteen years ago when neighbors wanted to recreate the tradition of connecting homes with the light of candles in bags at the holiday season. In order to determine an interest in participating, they sent out an informational letter to about sixty homes, explaining the nature of the event and the cost of luminaria kits. Through the sale of kits, they raised $300 that first year, all of which was donated to a family in need. In the early years of the event, several different charities benefited from Luminaria Night. Among them was New Bethany Ministries, which provides meals, financial services, and housing to poor, hungry, homeless and mentally ill individuals and families in the Lehigh Valley. The founders of the event were so impressed with the outreach of New Bethany, they decided to affiliate themselves permanently in 2003. Since then, Luminaria Night has added many new neighborhoods, block captains, and regional captains each year. In the past couple of years, over $80,000 annually has been raised by citizens of Bethlehem through the luminara night program.
It was a special night because we had our first snow of the season. We didn’t use our full compliment of luminarias because of the snow but we all still enjoyed it.
I learned that if snow falls on the bags, they can catch fire (ahem) but the fires are also extinguished by the snow. We found lots of charred bags in the morning.
Here are some images from around town:
and from Moravian College:
Here are the readings for the second Sunday in Advent.
In the spirit of helping others, this is one of my favorite Christmas campaigns.