The day after Thanksgiving, my mom, Scott and I piled in the car on a mission to visit as many antique stores as possible. (We leave the big box stores to braver souls.)

We found our way to a new little antique store not too far from home and quickly realized we were going to get in to a fair amount of “trouble” that manifested itself in the form of vintage tins and antique glass ornaments. As we were collecting our treasures to leave, the shop owner said to Scott, “No one leaves here empty handed, sir. Please pick out a homemade candle to take home with our compliments.” After the kind woman explained to Scott that she had hand-dipped each scented candle and they were “made with love,” he carefully picked out a little Christmas tree-shaped candle. We hauled out bags upon bags of breakables and the little paper sack filled of pine-scented love.

Earlier this week, as I was finishing putting out the last of the holiday decorations, I came across the bag with the “winter pine” scented candle in it. I couldn’t help but smile as I lit it and placed it in the living room. It was a simple reminder to me of the shop owner and her infectious generosity of spirit. I reflected on how I might be able to offer God’s love to strangers this holiday, so that “no one leaves here empty-handed.” That shop owner may never know the impact of her small gift, but I pray that it will be a constant reminder to me to share God’s love with a world that so desperately needs it.

– Lauren Weinhold