Now that Thanksgiving is past (just barely!) the lights are coming up in our neighborhood, and all over the US, and all over the Northern hemisphere! Though many Christian cultures connect this with Christmas, and it is a wonderful part of Christmas tradition, lighting up the dark months with lights is a world-wide move. We keep it cheerful, remember hope, love, faith, and those other invisible lights in the dark, and of course, share our pretty (if over the top) winter visions with our neighbors.
This year has been such a happy one for my family. We will put up lights to share our joy. But I know that for many, winter and the Christmas holidays, can feel difficult, especially if your not as rich, beloved, healthy, at peace, interesting or interested, as we all wish we were. I’ve had very difficult Christmases, just like most people have. And it is busy, busy, busy.
Winter lights won’t keep all that at bay (I know, I know), and while I’m at it, it won’t help with school inequity, the price of college, the wars in the Middle East. It won’t ease the losses felt recently by families in Paris, or help the families of children shot by other children in their schools right here in Oregon. But when I spent a couple years in San Francisco’s inner city with people facing seriously dark days, dark lives, crushing disabilities and losses, I found that one small beauty making act, could really move some mountains in the heart. Everyday — just one thing to make the world more beautiful or meaningful. It helped people, and it helped me. So today, we are putting up our Christmas lights — because we have joy, and because we know there is sorrow too. Maybe you will too.