I’m Gonna Let It Shine

I was walking my dogs one evening, after dark, when I saw it.  The dreaded, garish pre-Christmas Christmas lights.  Normally, I would get annoyed and mentally compose a stinging rebuke for such gauche behavior but because the evening and the street were so dark, and maybe because my thoughts were a little dark too, I found the lights cheery and comforting.  As I walked on, I thought about a blog post Quinn Cummings (The QC Report—check it out) wrote in December 2010 about how many of the world’s religions have winter holidays that center around light and light’s significance.

Christmas is very much the season of lights.  We decorate trees and houses and whatever inanimate objects in our front yard with them.  People drive around and look at all the lights other people have put on their houses and we talk about it putting us into the Christmas spirit.  And even though people laugh about Clark Griswold’s Christmas lights, we are cheered by someone who has that much enthusiasm for exterior illumination.

I think we love the lights so much because what they represent.  They represent all those wonderful things humans crave in the dark winter: warmth, safety, community, life, and most especially, hope.  We know if we see light then there’s a possibility of something better than cold, danger, loneliness, death, and fear.  Even in the symbolic sense we need light.  We need to know brighter, happier days are coming.  We need to know goodness will overcome evil, especially in these dark days, when sadness and fear threaten to overwhelm us and we feel surrounded by malevolence.

The lights of Christmas give us hope.  For Christians, these lights symbolize the arrival of Jesus, humanity’s hope for reconciliation with God, and Christ’s eventual return. For others, the hope of time off work and spent with friends, family, and loved ones revives, rejuvenates, and reminds us we’re not alone in the darkness.  Either way, the lights represent hope and good things to come.

My dear Barazers, may your Christmas tree glow with lights, your home be warm and filled with both good things to eat and those beloved by you, and may your new year overflow with many good things.

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