Amber nestled a sand-weighted paper bag against the sidewalk, turning it to align with its sisters. She fished a flameless tealight from her totebag. Her toddler wobbled in an awkward gait on the nearest square of walkway. Amber extended the candle. “Want to turn it on?”
With a grin dimpling her plump cheeks, Angela tapped the plastic flame with her mitten.
Amber simultaneously toggled the switch on the bottom. The fake candle glowed.
Babygirl gasped. “Me do it!”
She planted the tealight in the bag’s sandy bottom. Light flickered up the paper walls and beamed through the star shape perforated in its walls. Her clap muffled by the downy pink yarn of her mittens, Angela offered silent applause. Amber stood, taking her daughter’s hand.
Dusk’s auburn embers vanished beyond the coal silhouettes of homes and trees. Frigid air swooped across the world in its wake. Woolly layers bundled her limbs against the December night, but the view stole her breath. Pricks of golden light shimmered in trails across the neighborhood. Snow-blanketed bungalows morphed into starry huddles, joining as flickering constellations further than she could see. Front porches, paths, and sidewalks all linked with an ellipsis which seemed to continue forever.
Chuck scuffed toward them from the frosty driveway. “You got the last one, there. I think we’re done.”
Babygirl flexed her knees as if to jump, but managed a heel-bounce as her best effort. “More!”
Amber nodded. “I agree.”
“We’re out of luminaries. What do you …”
Smiling at Chuck, she led Babygirl into the lawn. Her feet crunched into the layer of glimmering snow. Just deep enough. Amber flopped onto the brisk, icy powder and swept her arms and legs wide. Little Angela mimicked her. She rose and lifted her tot from the snow, beaming at the double impression.
“Carrying on Angela Standover’s legacy isn’t about the luminary bags.” She carried Babygirl to join Chuck on the driveway. “It’s about sharing light.”
“You want to go beyond Christmas. Beyond our subdivision.” He pushed his glasses up higher on his nose and gazed across the road to the Standover home. “She would’ve liked that. For such a small girl, she left unforgettable spark. “
“Within each of us, I think. Cancer limited her to walk our small circle for just a short time. But, if she could’ve reached the world, Angela would have done it.” Amber wiped a tear onto her daughter’s knitted cap, inhaling the scents of frosty yarn mingled with baby shampoo. How Mrs. Standover must miss the smell, the feel, of holding her beloved daughter. She cleared her throat and raised her head. “Tomorrow, I’m setting up a foundation for year-round snow angels and gifts and light. As long as I have breath, I intend to carry her spark further.”
“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:12-15).
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15).